Dec 11, 2018

Crimean Tatars: Human Rights Defender Lawyer Arrested by Russian Authorities

On 6 December 2018, Emil Kurbedinov, a prominent lawyer who actively defends political prisoners detained in Crimea, was arrested by Russian-imposed authorities under the accusation of having shared a content on Facebook in 2013 that allegedly carried “elements of extremism”.  His arrest reflects Russian attempts to pressure lawyers who, as Kurbedinov, are involved in political cases in Crimea. Kurbedinov’s recent cases included several defendants who were detained under charges perceived by human rights organizations and Western governments as politically motivated.

The article below was published by Radio Free Europe:

Russia-imposed authorities in Crimea have detained a prominent lawyer, Emil Kurbedinov, his colleagues say.

Attorney Lilya Hemedzhi told RFE/RL that officers from the Russian Anti-Extremism Center detained Kurbedinov on December 6 [2018] in Simferopol in a case linked to a social media post made before Russian forces seized Crimea from Ukraine and annexed the peninsula.

Hemedzhi said Kurbedinov is accused of writing a Facebook post in 2013 that, according to investigators, carried "elements of extremism."

Russian lawyer Nikolai Polozov said Kuberdinov’s detainment was another case of "pressure on lawyers involved in political cases in Crimea."

Polozov also noted in a December 6 [2018] statement posted on Facebook that Kurbedinov is currently representing some of the 24 Ukrainian sailors seized by Russian special forces on November 25 [2018] along with three Ukrainian navy ships off the coast of Crimea.

"I call on the lawyers’ community, public organizations, and representatives of international organizations to immediately react to another gross violation of lawyers' rights," Polozov wrote.

Other clients of Kurbedinov in recent years have included defendants in Crimea charged in high-profile cases that human rights organizations and Western governments say are politically motivated.

Since Russia seized and illegally annexed the Ukrainian peninsula in 2014, Moscow has conducted a persistent campaign of oppression that targets Crimeans who oppose the annexation.


Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons