On November 12, the Southern District Military Court in Rostov-on-Don sentenced six defendants in the so-called Yalta “Hizb ut-Tahrir case” to imprisonment. Muslim Aliyev was sentenced to 19 years in prison, Inver Bekirov – to 18 years, Emir-Usein Kuku and Vadim Siruk – to 12 years, Arsen Dzhepparov – to 7 years and Refat Alimov – to 8 years in prison.
The defendants in the case were arrested in February-April 2016 in Yalta. The court found them guilty of connections to the Islamic political organization Hizb ut-Tahrir, banned in Russia and in preparations for a violent seizure of power. Both charges are based on evidence of the alleged involvement in Hizb ut-Tahrir and the gatherings of its members. The lawyers of the defendants have repeatedly stated that the evidence that supported the charges was falsified. In addition, the de facto authorities applied two punishments for the same alleged continuing action in violation of the Constitution of the Russian Federation (Article 50) and Art. 4 of Protocol No. 7 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, 1950. According to the investigation findings, the guilt of the defendants in both crimes – alleged involvement in Hizb ut-Tahrir and preparation for the violent seizure of power – is based on the contested evidence of their participation in Hizb ut-Tahrir and its gatherings.
In addition, the application of the Russian criminal law in the temporarily occupied Crimea violates the provisions of the IV Geneva Convention of 1949, according to which the occupying state has no right to apply its criminal law to the occupied territory.
We emphasize that the occupation authorities in Crimea use the anti-terrorist Russian legislation as the main tool for prosecuting and putting pressure on Crimean Tatar activists and human rights activists, including Emir-Usein Kuku, sentenced to 12 years in prison. In addition, the de-facto authorities are applying two punishments for the same continuous action in violation of the Constitution of the Russian Federation (Article 50), and Art. 4 of Protocol No. 7 to the European Convention on Human Rights,1950.
We strongly condemn the persecution of Muslims and Crimean Tatar activists in the temporarily occupied Crimea on fabricated charges and demand from the Russian government to immediately stop using the “anti-terrorist” legislation of the Russian Federation in the occupied territory in violation of the IV Geneva Convention of 1949.
We appeal to international organizations and governments of democratic countries and ask them to:
- continue pressure on the Russian authorities and demand to stop persecuting Muslims and Crimean Tatar activists.
- condemn the use of the Russian “anti-terrorist” legislation to prosecute Muslims and Crimean Tatar activists in the temporarily occupied Crimea.
- facilitate the monitoring of trials of Ukrainian citizens in Russian courts and the Crimean “courts” controlled by the occupying power.
- facilitate independent UN, OSCE and the Council of Europe monitoring missions with a mandate to monitor the human rights situation in Crimea, including freedom of religion and assembly. The monitoring mission should be conducted with the permission of the Ukrainian authorities and consultations with Ukrainian and international non-governmental organizations.
We appeal to the President of Ukraine, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, the Ministry of Veterans, Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons, and the Prosecutor’s Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea with the request to:
- ensure an effective criminal investigation into the unlawful deprivation of liberty and prosecution of Muslim Aliyev, Inver Bekirov, Emir-Usein Kuku, Vadim Siruk, Arsen Dzhepparov and Refat Alimov, as well as all other facts of gross violations of freedom of religion and assembly in the temporarily occupied Crimea with a view to ensuring the principle of inevitability of punishment for war crimes and other human rights violations.
- develop and approve the necessary comprehensive legislation in order to provide protection and state support to people who are illegally deprived of freedom and are subjected to politically motivated prosecution by the occupying authorities of the Crimea and the Russian Federation.
- adopt the Draft Law on Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine on Ensuring Harmonization of Criminal Law with the Provisions of International Law 0892 and implement the responsibility for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the occupied Ukrainian territories.
Center for Civil Liberties
Crimean Human Right Group
Media Initiative for Human Rights
Association of relatives of political prisoners of the Kremlin
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
Human Rights Center ZMINA
Regional Centre for Human Rights