Human rights activists demand that Russia release the Crimean Tatars and call on the Ukrainian authorities and the world to take decisive steps
"Searches and detentions have nothing to do with the Russian Federation's fight against terrorism. Instead, they serve as a means of political persecution of Crimean Tatars, who demonstrate an active civic position and counteract the arbitrariness of the Russian occupation authorities in Crimea. Searches and arrests of Crimean Muslims also incite Islamophobia in Crimea and are a hidden way to oust Crimean Tatars from the peninsula. In addition, the Crimean Tatar people most often suffer from arbitrary searches, detentions, pressure and intimidation by the Russian occupier authorities. During the seven years of occupation, the absolute majority of arbitrary searches took place in the homes of Crimean Tatars, who made up 13% of the population of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea until 2014. Crimean Tatars also make up the absolute majority of Crimean political prisoners." reads the statement released by human rights defenders.
They emphasize that regular searches and detentions in occupied Crimea are a gross violation of international humanitarian law.
Human rights activists demand that the Russian Federation, as an occupying state of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and city of Sevastopol:
- Immediately release Raif Fevziyev, Dzhebbar Bekirov, Rustem Murasov, Zaur Abdullayev, Rustem Tairov and other unlawfully detained persons;
- Stop arbitrary searches, detentions and other forms of political pressure on persons exercising their right to freedom of expression, freedom of thought, conscience, religion and peaceful assembly;
- Immediately stop the practice of intimidation of Crimean Tatars, religious figures and public activists in Crimea;
- Effectively investigate all cases of arbitrary searches and detentions in Crimea, as well as bring those responsible to justice;
- Strictly adhere to its obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law.
Human rights defenders also appeal to the governments of foreign states and international organizations with a request to:
- Strongly condemn regular searches and detentions in the occupied Crimea;
- Use all available diplomatic, political, economic and other levers of pressure on the Russian Federation to release Raif Fevziev, Dzhebbar Bekirov, Rustem Murasov, Zaur Abdullayev, Rustem Tairov and other political prisoners;
- Introduce personal sanctions against persons directly involved in today's arbitrary searches and detentions;
- Demand that Russia allow international monitoring missions of the UN, OSCE and Council of Europe to enter the occupied Crimea;
- Carry out constant monitoring of politically motivated criminal cases at all stages (pre-trial investigation, trial, serving a sentence);
- Provide comprehensive support to illegally detained persons and their families, in particular, pay special attention to the psychological rehabilitation of children who witnessed the arbitrary search and detention of their parents;
- Make the most of the tools of the Crimean platform for the speedy release of political prisoners and an end to political repression in Crimea.
Human rights activists urge the president of Ukraine, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, the Ministry for the reintegration of temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine, the prosecutor's Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol to:
- Ensure an effective investigation into the facts of illegal deprivation of liberty and prosecution of Raif Fevziev, Dzhebbar Bekirov, Rustem Murasov, Zaur Abdullayev and Rustem Tairov and all other facts of gross violations of fundamental human rights in the temporarily occupied Crimea;
- Adopt a comprehensive law to ensure the protection and state support of persons who are illegally deprived of their liberty as a result of the aggression of the Russian Federation;
- Adopt the draft law on amendments to certain legislative acts of Ukraine concerning the implementation of international criminal and Humanitarian Law No. 2689 of 27.12.2019 and introduce responsibility for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the occupied territories of Ukraine.
As RISU has reported, Russian security forces in the illegally annexed Crimea conducted five searches in the homes of Crimean Tatars on the morning of August 17. After the searches, the imam and Muslims with an active civic position were detained.