Apr 15, 2016

Crimean Tatars: Russian-Backed Prosecutor Suspends Mejlis

Photo Courtesy of the Anadolu Agency 

A Russian-backed prosecutor in Crimea has suspended the Crimean Tatar people’s supreme executive commission. Mejlis Chairman Refat Chubarov, who for almost two years has not been allowed to return to Crimea, criticised the decision for violating Russian law by not awaiting a Supreme Court judgment on the status of the commission, and accused Moscow of orchestrating the ban. 


Below is an article published by the Anadolu Agency:

A Russia-backed prosecutor in Crimea suspended the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, the region’s supreme executive commission, Wednesday, according to Russian TASS news wire.

Prosecutor Natalya Poklonskaya told TASS news agency that she made the ruling to “prevent violations of the federal laws.”

Hours later, Mejlis Chairman Refat Chubarov told Anadolu Agency that Poklonskaya’s decision violated Russia's own laws. Chubarov said Poklonskaya “did not take that decision on her own. Moscow took that decision. In other words, the order came from Moscow.

“We have occupation in Crimea and we do not see it as legitimate these prosecutors and their duties.”

On Feb. 15, Poklonskaya filed a lawsuit at the Crimean High Court to recognize the Tatar Mejlis as an extremist organization and demanded its closure. The first hearing was held on March 3, and since then the case examination got postponed four times on various grounds.

Mustafa Abduldzhemil Dzhemilev Kirimoglu, former Mejlis head and member of Ukrainian parliament, told Anadolu Agency Wednesday that Russia’s stance towards Crimea’s Tatars was “a continuation of Soviet Union’s policy.”

“We thought that after the fall of Soviet Union, Russia became a little bit smarter,” Kirimoglu said, adding: “[But] nothing changed, it became worse.”

Poklonskaya’s ruling to suspend the activity of Tatar Mejlis would remain valid until Crimea’s Supreme Court announces its decision.

Kirimoglu said courts in the annexed region were simply obeying orders of Moscow. He said the decision to suspend the activity of Mejlis was in violation even according to Russian law. “If you have filed a lawsuit, the result should be awaited,” he said, adding: “This decision shows to the world who is Russia.”

About the restrictions on the body, the prosecutor said: “The association is banned from using all state and municipal media, it can’t hold various public mass events, use bank accounts or conduct any type of work. All its propaganda will be prohibited.”

In March 2014, Putin signed into law a deal, according to which the Ukraine’s autonomous Republic of Crimea joined the Russian Federation, following a referendum held in the peninsula. The move was strongly opposed by Ukraine, EU, and the U.S. who put sanctions on Moscow.

Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, consists of 33 members, including the chairman, according to its official website. It aims to eliminate “the consequences of the genocide, committed by the Soviet state against Crimean Tatars, restoration of the national and political rights of the Crimean Tatar people and implementation of its right to free national self-determination in its national territory,” the Mejlis website added.