Statement — Free Ilmi Umerov

Free Russia Foundation urges the Russian Federation to immediately release Ilmi Umerov.

Free Russia Foundation is outraged that Ilmi Umerov, an active member of the Crimean Tatar national movement, is still confined in a psychiatric clinic in Simferopol, Crimea. We strongly condemn the fact that Soviet-era tactics of treating dissidents with psychiatric methods are being utilized by Putin’s regime against those who have a voice for freedom and self-identification of people.

Ilmi Umerov is Deputy Chairman of Crimean Tatar Mejlis. Previously he was the Head of Bakhchisaray District administration, Deputy Prime Minister of the government of Crimea and Vice Speaker of the Crimean Parliament. On May 12, 2016, Ilmi Umerov was detained on suspicion of violating the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation while giving an interview for ATR TV in March 2016 in Kiev. “Sanctions against Russia should be reinforced in order to force it to leave Crimea and the Donbass,” he said in the interview.

We believe that Ilmi Umerov’s persecution and current detention at a psychiatric clinic are connected exclusively with his pro-democracy beliefs and outspoken position that Crimea is an integral part of Ukraine.

Umerov’s family issued a statement on August 29, 2016, saying that actions against Umerov taken by the Russian authorities are illegal and violate international law.  His family also states that he is completely healthy mentally, but has several serious illnesses including Parkinson’s disease, hypertonic disease, and diabetes. He also recently underwent heart surgery. His forceful detention in a psychiatric clinic is very dangerous because he doesn’t receive proper and necessary food or medical treatment as a diabetic. Umerov’s family and his lawyers notice his health has been deteriorating every day since August 21.

The charges against Umerov were issued by FSB senior lieutenant I.A. Skripka. The decision to keep him in a mental clinic was made by the same FSB investigator, who we believe is a good candidate to the Magnistky Act List.

We urge the government of the Russian Federation to immediately release Ilmi Umerov, drop the charges against him and close the criminal case against him as there are no grounds for his lawful detention.

We appeal to the international community to combine our efforts and put a joint pressure on the Russian Federation to free Ilmi Umerov and stop any persecution of Crimean Tatars.



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