Protect Crimean Tatar defenders!
Crimean Tatars are a Turkic ethnic minority in Crimea, and one of the earliest UNPO members. Since the annexation in 2014 of Crimea by the Russian Federation, Crimean Tatars who advocate an opening of the debate surrounding the status of Crimea have found themselves persecuted and designated sometimes incorrectly as terrorists by the Russian government. Journalists are also a frequent target of the Russian authorities. As part of our Compromised Spaces campaign, UNPO stands against the reprisals of Russian authorities against Crimean Tatar activists, journalists and lawyers. We also want to see more concrete steps to solve frozen conflicts in Europe's periphery like the case of Crimea. This timeline is a rundown of recent cases (2019-2021) in reverse chronological order.
20 January 2022: Prosecutor Sergei Adydinov has demanded the Southern District Miltary Court find Crimean Tatar 65-year-old Zerkirya Muratov guilty under Part 2 of Article 205 (participation in the actives of a terrorist organization) of the Criminal Code of Russia. Adyinov further argued for Muratov to be imprisoned for 12 years, followed by restriction of freedom of movement for 1 year and 6 months. However, the demand comes two months after Muratov refused the demand from FSB member Alesksandor Kompaneitsev, to give false testimonies against fellow Crimean Tatars. Muratov was arrested on 7 July 2020 for having religious literature.
13 January 2022 - Oleksandr Syzykov, Alim Sufianov, and Seyran Khairetdynov will remain under arrest until April 20, 2022. These men were those detained during the house searches between March 27-28th of 2019.
17 January 2022: Prosecutor Yevgeny Kolpikov, announced in the Southern District Miltary Court the proposed terms of imprisonment for journalist Remzi Bekirov, human rights activist Riza Izetov, activists Shaban Umerov, Farhad Bazarov, and Raim Aivazov, asking the court to find them guilty under Articles 205.5 and 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. Following at least a year of one and a half restrictions on freedom of movement.
12 January 2022 - The Supreme Court of the occupied Crimea upheld fines for the Crimean Tatar activists Seidamet Mustafaiev, Ramazan Susanov, Enver Yuldash, Eldar Yakubov, and Alimkhan Abitov for participating in mass meetings. The court fined Seidamet Mustafaiev, Ramazan Susanov, Enver Yuldash, and Eldar Yakubov 10,000 rubles, and Alimkhan Abitov 15,000 rubles
12 January 2022 - Arsen Abkhairov a defendant in the Krasnohvardiiske Hizb ut-Tahrir case was transferred to the correction institution of the Krasnoyarsk Region.
12 January 2022 - Head of the Board of the Crimean Tatar Resource Center, Head of the Department of Legal Affairs and Foreign Affairs of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people Eskender Bariev, in an interview with the QIRIM.News media agency, spoke about the Analysis of human rights violations in the occupied Crimea for December 2021, published by the CTRC. He drew attention to cases of torture against Crimean Tatar activists. He believes that by being tortured, the Crimean Tatars are being intimidated. According to him, people who are exposed to such threats are likely to try to leave the occupied Crimea. Thus, the occupiers are squeezing out the indigenous people from Crimea.
08 December 2021: The Kirovsky District Court ordered the arrest of Crimean Solidarity coordinator and public defender Mutasfa Seidaliev for 10 days for publication of the video on the VKontakte page in 2012. Before this Seidaliev was detained for 23 November 2021 and was set to be released on 7 December 2021.
26 November 2021: Dilyaver Memetov, a coordinator for the Crimean Solidarity was detained for 12 days and charged under Article 20.2.2 § 1 of Russia’s Code of Administrative Offenses (infringement by the organizer of a public event of the established procedure for organizing or holding a meeting), and his court hearing was only 15 minutes before he was sentenced. Memetov was arrested along with 32 other Crimean Tatar men and women who had gone to Simferopol for the release of lawyer Edem Semedlyaev.
23 November 2021: 21 Crimean Tatars, including five civic journalists, have been detained for up to 14 days in prison while they tried to report on the situation of lawyer Edem Semedlyaev who was imprisoned for up to 12 days for continuing his duties as a lawyer.
16 November 2021: Nariman Dzhelyal, First Deputy Head of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis, has been charged additionally under Article 226.1 § 1 or smuggling an explosive device of an organized group. He can end up with a sentence of 7 to 12 years if he is convicted.
25 October 2021: Russian Authorities arrested Crimea Tatar lawyer Edem Semedlyaev as he was advising clients who had been arbitrarily arrested on terrorism charges. Semedlyaev was detained after he started audio recording on his phone after he asked an officer from the Interior Ministry anti-extremism department to not take away one dentine he wanted to provide legal counsel for when he finished with his current client. The officer ordered him to stop recording, and for him and another lawyer to undress under the suspicion both had extremist tattoos, to which Semedlyaev refused and was arrested on two counts of disobeying a police officer, an administrative offense punishable by a fine and up to 15 days in jail. He went to court and was released on pending review of the charges.
4 September 2021: Crimea Tatar leader Nariman Dzhelyal, deputy chairman of the Crimean Tatar representative body, Mejlis, was arrested after Russian security forces raided his house. Dzhelyal was detained 24 hours without food, water, access to a lawyer, and a bag over his head. Dzhelyal was arrested after returning from an international summit, the Crimea Platform which aimed to put Crimea, occupied by Russia since 2014 back on the international agenda to draw attention to the human rights situation there. He was alleged to be aiding in damaging a gas pipeline that supplied a Russian military base near Simferopol.
25 August 2021: Vladyslav Yesypenko, a freelance journalist that covered environmental problems and social issues in Crimea, including for the U.S funded Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty was arrested in March 2021 after he confessed to having been spying for Ukraine and was charged with allegedly illegally obtaining and transporting explosive and unlawful storing weapons. In April 2021 he described in a written statement to the court that he was stripped naked, applied with electric shocks, and beaten to extract a false confession from him by the Russian security forces. Since his detention, his health has deteriorated, and due to having high blood pressure and severe back pain caused by kidney stones he was taken to a hospital his doctor insisted on him staying in the hospital but forces returned him to detention. Yesypenko’s prosecution and ill-treatment are the latest in Russia’s ongoing crackdown on independent media in Crimea. Since its occupation of the peninsula in 2014, over 50 journalists with RFE/RL’s Crimea-focused reporting project faced pressure, intimidation, or criminal charges. Twenty-seven journalists have since left the project, and 29 have left Crimea altogether. One received a suspended sentence for “making public calls aimed at violating Russia’s territorial integrity.” Authorities have also targeted nine journalists involved with the Crimean Solidarity group. Four are serving sentences ranging from 14 to 19 years on bogus “terrorism” charges. Five others are on trial. If convicted he can face up to 18 years in prison.
17 August 2021: Five Crimean Tatar activists were accused of preparing to display a violent seizure of power in connection to the Hizb ut-Tahrir organization. Those detained include Dzhebbar Bekirov, Zaur Abdullaiev, Rustem Tairov, Raif Fevziiev, and Rustem Murasov.
22 July 2021: Security forces search the home of Crimean Tatar Muslims in Evpatoria, and detained Abdulla Ibragimov for three days under Part 1 of Article 20.3 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation (“Propaganda or public demonstration of Nazi paraphernalia or symbols, or paraphernalia or symbols confusingly similar to Nazi paraphernalia or symbols, or paraphernalia or symbols of extremist organizations, or other paraphernalia or symbols, the propaganda or public display of which is prohibited by federal laws”). The home was previously searched in 2015 b the special forces who looked for weapons and explosives however found none.
07 July 2021: Thorhildur Sunna, PACE Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination Rapporteur, reported on the human rights violations of the Crimean Tatar situation of Crimea by Russia. The violations are highlighted in the report here.
25 June 2021: Warnings were issued by Russian enforcement officers towards members of the Crimean Tatar community for extremist actions aimed at destabilizing the situation in the annexed part of Crimea. The warnings come only a day before the annual Crimean Tatar Flag Day which takes place on 26 June.
10 June 2021: Crimean Tatar Edem Berkirov, who was freed in September 2019 was sentenced by the Central District Court in Simferopol under judge Sergei Valerievych Demeniuk to seven years of imprisonment and imposed a fine of 150 thousand roubles, without being in the courtroom instead he was represented through Alexei Ladin.
24 May 2021: Crimea State Prosecutor Diana Yevtushenko asked in court to find the head of the Mejlis Refeat Chubarov guilty under Article 212 (mass riots) and to imprison him for up to 9 years in prison.
17 May 2021: Adyder Kadyrov, a Crimean Solidarity, and Grani.ru journalist were accused by the FSB of communicating through the social network VKontakte with the account of Umidjon Dadajonov, who, according to the special services, took part in the hostilities in Iraq. However, he states that the correspondence was back in 2015 before the introduction of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation 2016, in addition, the two did not speak of any plans or actions with Dadajonov.
29 April 2021: The brother of Enver Seitosmanov, a Crimean Tatar who had been sentenced to 17 years in prison for involvement with the Hizb ut-Tahrir had his house searched and investigated by security officers. He was then interrogated in the FSB building in Sevastopol for 6 hours before he was released after signing a non-disclosure of the contents of the interrogation.
14 April 2021: Three Crimean Tatar mothers: Zelikha Abkhairova, Zurye Emiruseinova, and Emine Abdulganieva were threatened with possible being charged under Article 20.2 $ 5 of Russia’s administrative offenses. All three had tried to hold single-person pickets against the prosecution of their sons in different parts of the Krasnogvardeisk district of Crimea, on 31 October 2020.
04 April 2021: The Magistrate’s Court of the Kievsky District of Simferopol put Bekir Mamutov, Chief Editor of the newspaper ‘Quirm’ on trial for publishing a United Nations report that mentioned the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people. Mamutov was being charged under Article 13.15 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation (Abuse of freedom of the mass media) for not marking the Mejlis as a banned organization on the territory of the Russian Federation. The trial had been postponed until April 20th.
23 March 2021: Crimean Tatar Activist Akhmadjon Kadyrov received a warning from the district prosecutor and senior legal advisor Mark Petrenko, about breaking the law due to posting a video with fellow elderly activists in support of all Crimean political prisoners as it was publicly calling for extremist activities. The recorded video posted on the internet by Crimean Solidarity has been called an appeal that addresses fellow Crimean Tatars, Muslims, that states Crimean Tatar’s are not terrorists.
17 March 2021: Crimean Solidarity journalist and Grani.ru correspondent Remzi Bekirov, the Crimean Solidarity human rights activist Riza Izetov, activists who organized food transfers to previously arrested Crimean Tatars, Raim Aivazov, Shaban Umerov, and Farhod Bazarov, of the 25 arrested Crimean Tatar civic and human rights activists on 27 March 2019 were removed from the Southern District Military Court of Rosov-on-Dov due to speaking Crimean Tatar.
11 March 2021: Iver Ametov, Chairman of the Sudak Regional Mejlis, has rejected a summons from the Center for Combating Extremism, and was accused under the first part of Article 222 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (illegal acquisition, transfer, transportation, or carrying of firearms, their main parts, ammunition). Ametov refused to sign the summons and was questioned by police about the activities of the Mejlis and if he financed them.
02 March 2021: Radio Meydan FM, the first Crimean Tatar radio station was forced to stop broadcasting to Crimea as they could not pay the provider. However, in 2020 there was little funding given to English and Crimean Tatar-language services on the state-run UATV. In 2021 50 million UAH had not been allocated for the station.
17 February 2021: Russian security forces and national guard raided the homes of seven Muslim men in Crimea which included six Crimea Tatars. All six men were accused of being involved with the Hizb-ut Tahrir, a group that aims to establish an Islamic caliphate but renounced violence. Russia labeled the Hizb-ut Tahrir organization as a terrorist organization, but they operate freely within Ukraine. Dozens of Crimea Tatars have been sentenced on terrorism charges for practicing religious or political beliefs often in private, that the Russian authorities claim is affiliated with the Hizb-ut Tahrir organization.
17 February 2021: Crimean Tatars Lenur Seidametov, Timur Yalkabov, Azamat Eyupov, Shikhametov Yashar, and Abdulboriy Makhamadaminov were all arrested by the FSB after armed searches of their homes. All the men are charged under Article 205.5 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (organization of terrorist activities) with involvement in the Hizb ut-Tahrir organization.
15 February 2021: Crimean Tatar paramedic Lilya Reshidova, was detained by the FSB for interrogation. She was serving as a witness in criminal proceedings against other citizens.
08 February 2021: Rayim Aivazov; Farkhod Bazarov; Riza Izetov and Shaban Umerov four out of the 25 arrested Crimean Tatar civic journalists and activists arrested in March 2020 were transported in a glass cell from Crimea to Russia. Berkirov who suffered from ill-treatment was spared from the long trip. It was reported that Izetov had no heating, while Berkirov only had heating for several hours before it went out until they arrived at Krasnodar where Izetov was placed in a cell where the men had to take turns sleeping as there weren't enough beds.
25 January 2021: A prosecution witness in the trial of Medzhit Ablyamitov was not allowed to read his testimony before being forced to sign it. On 20 January 2021, Aider Asamatov Ablyamtiov’s lawyer stated that the investigators had prepared all of the documents for the witness and that a lot of what was alleged in the testimony he was hearing for the first time.
18 January 2021: Russian President Vladimir Putin put into force on 30 December 2020 Law No 538-03 which introduced a two-year sentence of imprisonment for defamation. The law was broadened to include the internet and other communication networks. Anastasia Martynovska from the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union warned it could lead to prosecution against thought and expression.
14 January 2021: The European Court of Human Rights accepted the Ukrainian complaint alleging that Russia was responsible for multiple human rights violations in Crimea. The Court considered Russia as having “exercised effective control” over Crimea since 2014. The recognition allows for human rights abuses such as prosecutions against Crimean Tatars to be held accountable.
12 January 2021: 17 vehicles and 59 Crimean Tatars were stopped at the entrance of the Crimean Bridge was they tried to get to Rostov for the sentencing of 59-year-old Enver Omerov who was sentenced to 18 years harsh regime imprisonment, his 32-year-old son Riza Omerov to 13 years; and Aider Dzhapparov was sentenced to 17 years. All based on possibly being involved or organizing with the Hizb ut-Tahrir group.
08 April 2020: The Department of the Investigative Committee of Russia in Crimea accused Mustafa Dzhemilev, Crimean Tatar leader and Ukrainian MP of illegally crossing the border of the Federal Republic of Germany and illegal handling of weapons.
31 March 2020: Crimean Tatar human rights activist Riza Izetov one of the 23 Crimean Tatar activists and journalists detained by the Russian FSB on 27 March 2019 faces a 20-year long sentence for refusing to be silent.
25 March 2020: Refat Chubarov, Head of the Mejlis Crimean Tatars, explains that the decree passed by Russian President Vladimir Putin would accelerate colonization of annexed Crimea, forcing Crimeans to take the Russian passport or have their lands seized.
24 March 2020: Russian President Vladimir Putin expanded the list of territories where land plots cannot be owned by foreign legal entities or foreigners. The list includes most regions within the annexed Crimea and Sevastopol, as well as Kerch, Yalta, Evpatoria, and other coastal cities of the peninsula. However, it does not include Pervomaisky, Krasnogvardeisky, and Belogorsky, these regions do not border the mainland of Ukraine and do not have access to the Black Sea.
23 March 2020: Investigators of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Republic of Crimea of Sevastopol have initiated criminal charges against Refat Chubarov, Chair of the Mejlis for organizing riots accompanied by violence under Article 212 of the Russian Criminal Code.
16 March 2020: Crimean Solidarity reported that two searches were carried out in the Dzhankoy region of Crimea resulting in the detainment of Dilyaver Ibraimov. Osman Kurtaliyev who no longer lives in Crimea had his mother's home searched by the FSB who accused Kurtaliyev of involvement in the Noman Celebicihan (or Asker) Battalion, which is legal in Ukraine.
12 March 2020: 25 civic journalists and activists are charged by the investigation of the Russian FSB in Crimea under Article 30 as well as under Article 278 of the Russian criminal code. Lawyer Edem Semedlyaev pointed out it was an accusation of preparing a violent seizure of power in Russia and will be the basis for the detention of the 25 men in the upcoming case against them. Thus, Remzi Bekirov, Farkhod Bazarov, Raim Aivazov, Servet Gaziev, Erfan Osmanov, Vladlen Abdulkadyrov, Rustem Seitkhalilov, Dzhemil Gafarov, Tofik Abdulgaziev, Ruslan Suleymanov, Osman Arifmemetov, Medzhit Abdurakhmanov, and Rustem Sheikhaliev will remain under arrest in a pre-trial detention center until March 27.
11 March 2020: Four Crimean Tatar men have been arrested after several home searches in the region of Bakhchysarai: the two sons of historian Shurki Seitumerov – Seitumer Seitumerov (also a historian) and his brother Osman Seitumerov, the two men’s uncle Rustem Seitmemetov and Amet Suleimanov. Zudiyeva states, the FSB have, once again, targeted civic activists or their relatives. One of the homes searched included Crimean Solidarity civic journalist Seydamet Mustafayev.
03 March 2020: Crimean Human Rights activist Yunus Masharipov was ordered by the Russian court in Yalta to be subjected to psychiatric treatment. It was reported by Alexei Ladin, Masharipov’s lawyer, that he was prevented from giving his final address to the court, before being sentenced. Since his earlier arrest on 27 September 2017 Masharipov has issued public statements to both the ex-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Viktor Palagin, who is head of the Russian FSB in Crimea that he has been repeatedly tortured for false confessions. Yet, he was sentenced in 2018 in the Yalta City Court under Russian criminal code Article 222.1 § (illegal procurement, possession, carrying of such explosive devices) 1 and Article 223.1 §1 (illegal preparation of an explosive device.
22 February 2020: Crimean Human Rights activist Abdureshit Dzhepparov received a warning from the Kremlin-controlled prosecutor's office in Crimea's Belgorsk district about the inadmissibility of violating anti-extremist legislation. The charges stem from Dzhepparov allegedly signing papers related to the February 23 Day of Remembrance. Before this the sister of Mustafa Dzhemliv, Dilyara Seitveilyeva was also issued a similar warning by the prosecutor's office of the Bakhchisaray district.
21 February 2020: Crimean Tatar activist Zair Smedlya received a warning from the Russian protector's office in Krasnogvardeysky for inadmissibility of extremism. Smedlya published the warning online, as the letter states “it was informed that during 23 to 26 of February 2020 mass unauthorized events are planned to be held on the territory of the Republic of Crimea. When carrying out these events, it is planned to call people to unlawful actions to violate public order, provocations to actions of an extremist nature, forceful resistance to representatives of the authorities of the Republic of Crimea”, however, Smedlya stated there were no events planned, only people wanted to have a prayer service.
28 January 2020: Refat Chubarov, Chairperson of the Mejlis stated the March of Dignity against Violence and Occupation from mainland Ukraine to Russia-occupied Crimea will take place from 2 till 3 May 2020. The march aims to help international bodies and organizations implement their decisions and resolutions on occupied Crimea. However, Sergei Askyonov, the Russian-installed leader of Crimea alleged that the march would be an illegal crossing of the border in an attempt to invade Russian territory and threatened harsh reaction if the march continued.
20 January 2020: Journalist Taras Ibragimov has been prohibited from entrance into Crimea and Russia until 31 May 2054. The prohibition stems from Ibraimov having reported on political trials and writing about Crimean Tatar and other Ukrainian victims of persecution.
13 January 2020: Crimean Tatar journalist Gulsum Khalilova was detained again when trying to cross into mainland Ukraine and held in a police station by Russian authorities for over five hours. She was asked if she knew people from the Hizb ut-Tahrir, and Crimea Solidarity, however none related to the official reason for her detention.
02 October 2019: Nariman Memedemiov a Crimean Tatar blogger and citizen journalist has been sentenced to two and half years in a colony settlement by the Southern Military District Court of Russian Rostov-on Don. The charges stem from a video blog posted between 2013 to 2015 that contained dozens of videos with comments on political events and topics, calls to adhere to the norms of Islam, and opinions on Russian public holidays.
08 August 2019: Crimean Tatar journalist Gulsum Khalilova has been charged under 208 part 2 of Russia’s criminal code for ‘taking part in an armed formation on the territory of a foreign state’ even though she only learned of the criminal proceedings from the de facto High Court on 1 August 2019. According to her lawyer Emil Kurbedniov, the claim stems from Halilova allegedly having joined the Asker volunteer battalion in 2016. The investigation lasted a year and she is now accused of having provided the organization with information support.
30 July 2019: The Tagansky District Court in Moscow scheduled 10-minute trials for 18 of the Crimean Tatar activists arrested on 11 July 2019. The fines were about 20 thousand roubles (around 300 euros) with the largest possible fine under paragraph 5 of Article 20.2 of the Russian code of administrative offenses.
18 July 2019: The European Parliament adopted a resolution that named all 25 Crimean Tatar activists among political prisoners whom it called for Russia to release.
16 July 2019: Crimean Human Rights Group has identified abuse of freedom prosecutions when referring to the Mejlis (representative assembly) of the Crimean Tatar people, Hiz ut-Tahrir, and several other organizations without mentioning they have been banned by Russian courts as supposed terrorist or extremist.
11 July 2019: Around 50 Crimean Tatar activists were detained in Moscow, after protesting outside of the Russian Supreme Court. The demonstration was in a show of support for four Crimean Tatar political prisoners that have been sentenced to huge terms of imprisonment.
10 July 2019: Rustem Emiruseinov (69) Fevzi Abduramanov (54); Seiran Dzhemilev (56); Siar Gafarov (68); Eskender Lyumanov (54); Enver Seitumerov (68); and Sinaver Nimmetulaev (64) were all detained after protesting against the ethnic and religious persecution in Russian-occupied Crimea. All are being charged under Article 20.2 of Russia’s code of administrative offenses.
02 July 2019: 26-year-old Crimean Tatar Seyar Emriov was detained and charged under Article 20.29 of Russia’s code of administrative offenses. The charge came due to a video that was posted on Emriov’s page on Vkontakte in 2013, however, it was posted before the annexation and under different legislation.
26 June 2019: Several Crimea Tatars received warnings from Russian authorities on Crimean Tatar Flag Day. Including Nariman, Dzhelyal reported that while traveling to see friends, he received a warning that the Crimean Tatar flag was an “extremist symbol”, while others in the occupied Crimea were harassed over the national flag by authorities.
18 June 2019: The North Caucasus District Military Court in Rostov-on-Don sentenced five Crimean Tatars men who were detained on 12 October 2016 for participating in the banned Hizb ut-Tahrir organization. The military board sentenced Teimur Abdullayev to 17 years in prison, Uzeyir Abdullayev to 13 years, Rustem Ismailov to 14 years, Ayder Saledinov and Emil Dzhemadenov to 12 years.
11 June 2019: Gulsum Alieva, a Crimean Solidarity activist was detained and faces administrative prosecution over a reposted image on Facebook. Her lawyer Alexei Ladin lodged a formal application for termination of the proceedings.
30 May 2019: Lutfiye Zudieva and Mumine Salieva, both Crimean Solidarity activists, were detained. Both faced administrative prosecution under Article 20.3 of Russia’s code of administrative offenses for supposed “propaganda or public display of symbols of extremist organizations or other symbols whose propaganda or public display is prohibited by federal law”.
15 May 2019: Osman Afrimemetov, one of the 24 Crimean Tatar civic journalists and activists arrested between 27-28th of March 2019 is charged with involvement with the Hizb-ut-Tahrir under Article 205.5 § 2 of Russia’s criminal code for which he is sentenced to serve between 10 to 20 years in prison.
09 April 2019: Russia announced plans to build a rehabilitation center in Crimea to ‘re-educate’ Muslims considered to be under the influence of extremist ideology. The announcement came after the arrest of 24 Crimea Tatar civic journalists and activists.
05 April 2019: Memorial Human Rights Center demanded the release of the 24 Crimean Tatar civic activists and journalists arrested between 27-28 March 2019. The Memorial HRC stated that both the criminal prosecution and removal of residents deprived of their liberty from Crimea violates the norms under international humanitarian law.
28 March 2019: Three of the four Crimean Tatar men not home during the home searches that resulted in the arrest of 20 Crimean Tatar men were detained. Remzi Berkirov and Osman Arifmemeotov are both civic journalists who channel news about armed searches for the Crimean Solidarity. Vladlen Abdulkadyrov was involved in organizing parcels of food for political prisoners, while Edem Yayachikov was still being looked for.
27 March 2019: 20 Crimean Tatar men have been arrested, the majority of them are activists of the Crimean Solidarity initiative which helps political prisoners and their families and reports on human rights abuses. All are facing up to 10 years of life.
23 February 2019: Eight Crimean Tatar men were informed that they will be charged with planning to violently seize power under Article 278. Also, the FSB investigators have changed the indictment against two political prisoners from Bakhchysarai arrested for their involvement with the Crimean Solidarity civic initiative.
18 February 2019: Ukrainian Journalist Alina Smutko was banned from entering Russia until 26 May 2028, due to reporting on the state of political prisoners and their families in Crimea. She is one of the three journalists banned from Russian borders in the last three months.
14 February 2019: Searches were carried out in three houses in the Oktyabrskoye village in Crimea, resulting in the arrest of three Crimean Tatar men on suspicion of being participants in the Hizb ut-Tahrir organization.
13 February: Crimean Tatar Mejlis and Head of the Crimean Resource Center Eskender Bariev learned that the Russian-controlled ‘High-Court’ in Crimea upheld a ruling from 24 December 2018 ordering him to be remanded in custody for two months from when he is detained on Russian territory or extracted to Russia. Bariev is involved in the movement for the de-occupation of Crimea, and solidarity with the Crimean Tatar people LiberateCrimea, and he will be challenging Russians criminal prosecution, first at the cassation level in Russia and then in the international courts.
07 February 2019: Youtube called for the removal of a video that the Ukrainian Center for Journalist Investigations (CJI) posted about the detainment of Crimean Tatar human rights activist Usein Kuku. The demand came after the complaint received from Roskomnadzor, a Russian censor.
25 January 2019: In Simferopol, a Russian court ordered the release of four Crimean Tatar political prisoners on house arrest after being detained for over a year.
17 January 2019: The Investigative Committee in Russian-occupied Crimea has terminated criminal proceedings against Ismail Ramazanov, almost a year after he was arrested and detained for six months while being tortured. The release is in response to the newly adopted law that came into force on 27 December 2018, which makes the first prosecution under Article 282, not a criminal offense however, it still allows for up to 15 days imprisonment.
16, January 2019: Serious health concerns for detained Crimean Tatar activists were raised after the death of 83-year-old Vedzhie Kashka, a veteran of the Crimean Tatar national movement. Asan Chapukh, Bekir Degermendzhy, Kazim Ametov, and Ruslan Trubach's conditions of health have worsened in imprisonment with little medical care being provided.
14, January 2019: Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into force three new Russian laws that will impose harsher conditions for political prisoners convicted of extremism or terrorism. Crimean Tatar civic journalist Mariman Memedeminov who was arrested in March 2018 will be among those who will serve part of their sentence in prison where conditions are significantly worse than in the normal corrective colony. While Crimean Tatar Defense lawyer Emil Kubedniov received a threatening letter from the Russian Ministry of Justice. However, before he was arrested last month and sentenced to five days in jail due to a 2013 social media post about a meeting in Crimea for supporters of Hizb ut-Tahrir. After he was released, the ministry sent a letter requesting he be expelled from the bar association by March 1st due to his association with the group.
10 January 2019: Alya Bakkalli, a Representative of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, an Executive Member of the World Congress of Crimean Tatars and Adviser to the Permanent Mission of Ukraine on Indigenous Matters, revealed in an interview with New Eastern Europe that Crimean Tatars in occupied Crimea had begun mobilizing to collect donations, and prepared care packages to be delivered to captured Ukrainian naval officers. As well, a worldwide movement called #LiberateCrimea has begun in collaboration between Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians led by the Crimean Tatar Resource Center in Kyiv to call for ending the occupation of Crimea and return of human rights to the indigenous Crimean Tatars.
1, January 2019 - Crimean Tatar Activist Risa Asanov was attacked and seized by Russia, later being warned that he would not live through the next attack. Asanov was a major key figure in supporting political prisoners and their families since returning to Crimea from Poland in 2017. The attack came as he was providing aid to the Ukrainian POWS in Moscow.