Apr 03, 2019

Crimean Tatars: European Union Calls on Russia to Release All Illegally Detained Ukrainians From Crimea Region

Since Russia seized the Ukrainian peninsula back in 2015, Russian authorities arrested and detained dozens of Ukrainians, especially targeting members of the Turkic-speaking Crimean Tatar community and others who dared to speak out against Moscow's takeover of the peninsula. A court in Simferopol stated on March 29 that since March 27, 23 Crimean Tatars had been arrested and placed in pretrial detention until May 15, on charge of belonging to the banned Hizb ut-Tahrir Islamic group. This group can operate legally in Ukraine but Russia banned it in 2003. The European Union has called on Russia to stop targeting Tatars and to ensure fundamental freedoms protection.

The statement below was released by EEAS

A court in the Crimean peninsula, illegally annexed from Ukraine by Russia, has ruled that all 23 Crimean Tatars detained on 27 March and 28 March will be held in pre-trial detention until 15 May. They are accused of belonging to the organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is banned in Russia but not in Ukraine. The European Union does not recognise the enforcement of Russian legislation in Crimea and Sevastopol and expects all illegally detained Ukrainians to be released without delay.

The recent detentions, as well as the prior searches of their private property, constitute the latest targeting of Crimean Tatars, human rights defenders, and people who have spoken out peacefully against the illegal annexation by Russia of the Crimean peninsula. Such acts corroborate the report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, which states that “Crimean Tatars continue to be disproportionately affected by police raids and prosecuted under terrorism and extremism-related offences in proceedings falling short of human rights standards”. The European Union expects the Russian Federation to end these practices and to take all necessary steps to ensure that human rights and fundamental freedoms can be exercised by all in Crimea, without discrimination on any grounds.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia