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Free Russia Foundation Statement Against Persecution of Human Rights Defenders in Occupied Crimea

May 30 2019

May 30, 2019

FREE RUSSIA FOUNDATION STATEMENT AGAINST PERSECUTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS IN OCCUPIED CRIMEA 

On May 30, 2019 two Crimean Tatar activists, Lutfie Zudieva and Mumine Salieva, were detained by the Russian authorities (Center for Combating Extremism) in occupied Crimea. Lutfie Zudieva was apprehended on her way home from the market, while Mumine Salieva was approached by security forces at her home.

Lutfie Zudieva and Mumine Salieva are being accused of “propaganda or public display of extremist organizations” under Article 20.3 of the Russian Federation Code of Administrative Offences.

Lutfie Zudieva is both a director of the children’s center “Elif” and an activist. She has also been a civic defender within the judicial process of participants in the picket on December 18, 2017.

Mumine Salieva, wife of political prisoner Seiran Saliev, is a human rights activist and founder of the “Crimean Childhood” initiative, which aims in assisting children in occupied Crimea. She is also an active participant of Crimean Solidarity movement, whose goal is to help all of the political prisoners suffering from injustice within Crimea at the hands of the Kremlin regime. To this end, members of Crimean Solidarity provide legal, financial, and moral assistance to the victims and their relatives.

The lawyers were denied access to Crimean Tatar activists. Trial hearings will take place at the de facto Kiev district court in Simferopol.

The Free Russia Foundation strongly condemns persecution of lawyers and human rights defenders in occupied Crimea and demands that the Russian Federation government immediately cease (1) its unlawful suppression and obstruction of lawyer work and human rights activities; and (2) its use of Russia’s “anti-extremism and anti-terrorism” legislation in the occupied territory, in violation of international humanitarian law, in order to persecute individuals for their public, legal, and human rights activities.

We ask international organizations and governments of democratic states:

  • To continue pressuring the Russian government to put a stop to their ongoing persecution of Crimean Solidarity activists and to their efforts to obstruct the work of independent lawyers in occupied Crimea.
  • To condemn Russia’s use of its own “anti-terrorism and anti-extremism” legislation in its persecution of lawyers, human rights defenders and civil society activists in occupied Crimea.
  • To impose personal sanctions on persons involved in the gross violations of human rights in occupied Crimea as well as on those directly involved in the obstruction of lawyer work and persecution of the Crimean Solidarity movement.

For further information, please contact:

Natalia Arno

President, Free Russia Foundation

natalia.arno@4freerussia.org
+1 202 549 2417

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