Crimean Tatar civic journalists and activists sentenced to 14 and 13 years in a penal colony
According to a report by the Crimean Solidarity civic movement, the Southern District Military "Court" in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don found five activists of the Crimean Solidarity guilty of "terrorism" and the "attempted seizure of power".
Civic journalists Ruslan Suleymanov, Rustem Sheikhaliev and Osman Arifmemetov were sentenced to 14 years, while activists Enver Ametov and Yashar Muedinov to 13 years in a penal colony. All of them pleaded not guilty.
The political prisoners will spend 4 years in custody, following which their freedom of movement will be restricted for a year more. This will include prohibition of leaving the place of permanent residence from 10 pm till 6 am, leaving the territory of municipal formation, relocating, visiting venues of mass events and taking part in them. The convicted must sign up in a criminal executive inspection twice a month.
All the five political prisoners were detained on March 27, 2019, during one of the most massive searches at the Crimean Tatar houses in the Russian-occupied Crimea which took place in the districts of Kamyanka and Stroganivka in Simferopol. It was then that 25 people were detained on charges of terrorism, namely membership in the party of Hizb ut-Tahrir which is banned in Russia. The criminal "case" was unprecedentedly divided between the five groups of five defendants. Almost all the detainees were civic journalists or activists who had diligently attended court hearings in cases of Crimean Tatars, streamed live and covered searches at the houses of their fellow citizens.
Let us recall that Ruslan Suleymanov, Rustem Sheikhaliev and Osman Arifmemetov participate in #SolidarityWords, a joint project of PEN Ukraine and the Human Rights Center ZMINA. We have told their stories in collaboration with Chytomo within the project "People from Empty Chairs". By the links, you can read the materials about Ruslan Suleymanov, Rustem Sheikhaliev and Osman Arifmemetov.
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