Dec 13, 2016

Crimean Tatars: Ahtem Ciygoz’s Pre-Trial Detention Prolonged Once Again

Photo courtesy of Krymedia

Following an order by a court in Russian-occupied Crimea, Mr Ahtem Ciygoz will have to spend an additional three months – until 8 April 2017 – in pre-trial detention in a Russian jail. The Crimean Tatar leader had been arrested in January 2015 for allegedly organising “mass disorder” during a rally opposing Russian occupation in February 2014. The political prisoner is one of many Crimean human rights activists who fell victim to discrimination and arbitrary imprisonment by the Russian authorities.

Below is an article published by Radio free Europe/Radio Liberty:

A court in Russian-controlled Crimea has prolonged pre-trial detention for jailed Crimean Tatar activist Ahtem Ciygoz for another three months.

Ciygoz's lawyer, Nikolai Polozov, wrote on Twitter on 12 December [2016] that his client's pre-trial detention was prolonged until 8 April 2017.

It had been set to end on 8 January [2017].

Ciygoz is charged with organizing public disorder.

He was detained in January 2015 in connection with unrest outside the Crimean parliament on 26 February 2014, when Crimean Tatars and other pro-Ukrainian activists clashed with pro-Russian activists.

The next day, armed men in uniforms without insignia seized the parliament building and the legislature voted to join Russia several days later.

After sending in troops, Russia cemented its control over Crimea in March 2014 by staging a referendum condemned as illegitimate by Ukraine, the United States, and a total of 100 UN member states.

The Moscow-based Memorial Human Rights Center has deemed Ciygoz a political prisoner.

Rights groups say Crimean Tatars and others who opposed Russia's takeover have faced discrimination and abuse at the hands of the Moscow-imposed authorities.