Crimean Tatars are being systematically persecuted after the Russian annexation of the Crimea in 2014. The cases against the activists of the Crimean Tatar community are analyzed in the report of the international human rights organization Amnesty International (AI) "Crimea in the darkness: the persecution of dissent", published on Thursday, December 15th.
According to the Director of AI in Europe and Central Asia, John Dalhuisen, Crimean Tatars became the most prominent and united group that opposes the annexation of the Crimea. "Because of this they became a victim of the targeted repressions," Dalhuisen emphasizes.
According to the report, the representative body of the Crimean Tatars, the Mejlis, was banned as an "extremist organization" and the participation in any activities or events related to it is now a criminal offense. The leaders of the Mejlis, Mustafa Dzhemilev and Refat Chubarov, have been denied entry into the Crimea and criminal cases were initiated against them.
The Deputy Chairman of the Mejlis, Ilmi Umerov, was forcibly admitted to a closed ward of a psychiatric institution. Another Deputy Chairman of the Mejlis, Ahtem Chiygoz, was accused of organizing a mass disorder and was taken into custody; his trial continues since August 2016. Chiygoz is participating in the process via video conference and cannot privately consult with a lawyer.
Crimean Tatar activist, Erwin Ibragimov, disappeared on May 24th, 2016 and shortly before he went missing, he told friends that he is being followed. "The cases documented in this report demonstrate the Russian authorities’ brutality as well as the fact that they are intolerant of any dissent in the Crimea," John Dalhuizen concluded.