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The Kremlin’s Political Prisoners: Prosecution of Crimean Tatars

May 22 2020

The Crimean Tatars are a Muslim ethnic minority indigenous to the Crimean Peninsula. They have been among the most vocal critics of the Russian occupation of Crimea, and as a result, the Russian authorities have relentlessly persecuted them.

The persecution has included harassment, intimidation, threats, intrusive and unlawful searches, physical attacks, and enforced disappearances. Russian authorities have also banned Tatar media and organizations that criticized the occupation, including the Mejlis, the Tatar’s self-governing body. Crimean Tatars are also frequently subjected to baseless criminal charges resulting in arbitrary detention – usually separatism, for criticizing Russia’s actions in Crimea; extremism, for political activity; or terrorism, for associating with the religious/political organization Hizb ut-Tahrir al Islami (Hizb ut-Tahrir).

Since 2015, Russian authorities have arrested at least 68 Crimean Tatars on charges of involvement with the Islamist movement Hizb ut-Tahrir banned as a terrorist organization in Russia since 2003 but not proscribed in Ukraine, nor in most of Europe. They were arrested on charges of participating in (Part 2 of Article 205.5 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, up to 20 years in prison) or organizing a terrorist group (Part 1 of Article 205.5 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, maximum punishment is at lifetime sentence), solely for acts – often in private – of expression, assembly, opinion, or religious and political belief that the Russian authorities claim constitute participation in the terrorist organization.

Neither the decision of the Russian Supreme Court, nor the materials of criminal cases in Russia and other countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States indicate concrete facts that the organization engages in terrorism or any other kind of violent activities. Nor is there any information to show the involvement of the organization in the activities of extremist jihadist groups in Europe or the Middle East.

Memorial Human Rights Center has repeatedly stated that it does not agree with the decision of the Supreme Court to designate Hizb ut-Tahrir as a terrorist organization and considers the decision to be unjustified.

We are presenting a list of Crimean Tatars prosecuted for their involvement in the Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami organization in the annexed Crimea.

The case of four from Sevastopol (arrested in 2015)

  1. Ruslan Zeytullaev was arrested on January 23, 2015. On April 26, 2017, Zeytullaev was convicted under Part 1 of Article 205.5 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation to 12 years in prison, but the prosecutor’s office appealed against the court decision and ensured that in the appeal the Zeytullaev’s term was increased to 15 years in a strict regime penal colony.
  2. Ferat Sayfullaev was arrested on April 2, 2015. On September 7, 2016, Sayfullaev was convicted under Part 2 of Article 205.5 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation to 5 years in a general regime penal colony. On March 31, 2020 was released after serving his sentence.
  3. Rustem Vaitov was arrested on January 23, 2015. On September 7, 2016, Vaitov was convicted under Part 2 of Article 205.5 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation to 5 years in a general regime penal colony. On January 22, 2020 was released after serving his sentence.
  4. Yuri Primov was arrested on January 23, 2015. On September 7, 2016, Primov was convicted under Part 2 of Article 205.5 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation to 5 years in a general regime penal colony. On January 22, 2020 was released after serving his sentence.

The case of six from Yalta (arrested in 2016)

  1. Muslim Aliev was arrested on February 11, 2016. Charged under Part 1 of Article 205.5, Part 2 of Article 35, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. Sentenced to 19 years in a strict regime penal colony with one-year restriction of freedom after release.
  2. Refat Alimov was arrested on April 18, 2016. Charged under Part 2 of Article 205.5, Part 2 of Article 35, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. Sentenced to 8 years in a strict regime penal colony with one-year restriction of freedom after release.
  3. Enver Bekirov was arrested on February 11, 2016. Charged under Part 1 of Article 205.5, Part 2 of Article 35, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. Sentenced to 18 years in a strict regime penal colony with one-year restriction of freedom after release.
  4. Arsen Dzhepparov was arrested on April 18, 2016. Charged under Part 2 of Article 205.5, Part 2 of Article 35, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. Sentenced to 7 years in a strict regime penal colony with one-year restriction of freedom after release.
  5. Emir-Usain Kuku was arrested on February 11, 2016. Charged under Part 2 of Article 205.5, Part 2 of Article 35, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. Sentenced to 12 years in a strict regime penal colony with one-year restriction of freedom after release.
  6. Vadim Siruk was arrested on February 11, 2016. Charged under Part 2 of Article 205.5, Part 2 of Article 35, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. Sentenced to 12 years in a strict regime penal colony with one-year restriction of freedom after release.

The case of four from Bakhchisaray (arrested in 2016)

  1. Enver Mamutov was arrested on May 12, 2016. On December 24, 2018, he was sentenced under Part 1 of Article 205.5, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation to 16 years and 9 months in a strict regime penal colony.
  2. Rustem Abiltarov was arrested on May 12, 2016. On December 24, 2018, he was sentenced under Part 2 of Article 205.5, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation to 8 years and 9 months in a strict regime penal colony.
  3. Zevri Abseitov was arrested on May 12, 2016. On December 24, 2018, he was sentenced under Part 2 of Article 205.5, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation to 8 years and 9 months in a strict regime penal colony.
  4. Remzi Memetov was arrested on May 12, 2016. On December 24, 2018, he was sentenced under Part 2 of Article 205.5, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation to 8 years and 9 months in a strict regime penal colony.

The case of five from Simferopol (arrested in 2016)

  1. Teymur Abdullaev was arrested on October 12, 2016. Charged under Part 1 of Article 205.5 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation to 16 years and 6 months in a strict regime penal colony with 1.5 years of restriction of freedom after release.
  2. Uzeyir Abdullaev was arrested on October 12, 2016. Charged under Part 2 of Article 205.5 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation to 12 years and 6 months in a strict regime penal colony.
  3. Rustem Ismailov was arrested on October 12, 2016. Charged under Part 2 of Article 205.5 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation to 13 years and 6 months in a strict regime penal colony.
  4. Ayder Saledinov was arrested on October 12, 2016. Charged under Part 2 of Article 205.5 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation to 11 years and 6 months in a strict regime penal colony.
  5. Emil Dzhemadenov was arrested on October 12, 2016. Charged under Part 2 of Article 205.5 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation to 11 years and 6 months in a strict regime penal colony.

The case of eight from Bakhchisaray (detained in 2017)

  1. Marlen Asanov was arrested on October 11, 2017. Charged under Part 1 of Article 205.5, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing a life imprisonment.
  2. Server Zekiryaev was arrested on October 11, 2017. Charged under Part 2 of Article 205.5, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing up to 20 years in prison.
  3. Ernes Ametov was arrested on October 11, 2017. Charged Part 2 of Article 205.5, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing up to 20 years in prison.
  4. Timur Ibragimov was arrested on October 11, 2017. Charged under Part 1 of Article 205.5, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing a life imprisonment.
  5. Seyran Saliev was arrested on October 11, 2017. Charged under Part 2 of Article 205.5, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing up to 20 years in prison.
  6. Memet Belyalov was arrested on October 11, 2017. Charged under Part 1 of Article 205.5, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing a life imprisonment.
  7. Server Mustafayev was arrested on May 21, 2018. Charged under Part 2 of Article 205.5, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing up to 20 years in prison.
  8. Eden Smailov was arrested on May 21, 2018. Charged under Part 2 of Article 205.5, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing up to 20 years in prison.

The case of Enver Seitosmanov

Enver Seitosmanov was arrested on May 10, 2018. He was sentenced under Part 1 of Article 205.5 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation to 17 years in a strict regime penal colony with one-year restriction of freedom after release.

The case of three from Oktyabrskoe village (detained in 2019)

  1. Eskender Abdulganiev was arrested on February 14, 2019. Charged under Part 2 of Article 205.5 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing up to 20 years in prison.
  2. Rustem Emiruseinov was arrested on February 14, 2019. Charged under Part 1 of Article 205.5 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing a life imprisonment.
  3. Arsen Abkhairov was arrested on February 14, 2019. Charged under Part 2 of Article 205.5 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing up to 20 years in prison.

The case of twenty-four from Simferopol (detained in 2019)

  1. Enver Ametov was arrested on March 27, 2019 Charged under Part 2 of Article 205.5, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing up to 20 years in prison.
  2. Tofig Abdulgaziev was arrested on March 27, 2019. Charged under Part 2 of Article 205.5, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing up to 20 years in prison.
  3. Seytveli Seytabdiev was arrested on March 27, 2019. Charged under Part 2 of Article 205.5, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing up to 20 years in prison.
  4. Rustem Seythalilov was arrested on March 27, 2019. Charged under Part 2 of Article 205.5, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing up to 20 years in prison.
  5. Akim Bekirov was arrested on March 27, 2019. Charged under Part 2 of Article 205.5, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing up to 20 years in prison.
  6. Farhat Bazarov was arrested on March 27, 2019. Charged under Part 1 of Article 205.5, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing a life imprisonment.
  7. Server Gaziev was arrested on March 27, 2019. Charged under Part 2 of Article 205.5, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing up to 20 years in prison.
  8. Seyran Murtaza was arrested on March 27, 2019. Charged under Part 2 of Article 205.5, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing up to 20 years in prison.
  9. Erfan Osmanov was arrested on March 27, 2019. Charged under Part 2 of Article 205.5, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing up to 20 years in prison.
  10. Ruslan Suleymanov was arrested on March 27, 2019. Charged under Part 1 of Article 205.5, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing a life imprisonment.
  11. Rustem Sheikhaliev was arrested on March 27, 2019. Charged under Part 2 of Article 205.5, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing up to 20 years in prison.
  12. Alim Kerimov was arrested on March 27, 2019. Charged under Part 2 of Article 205.5, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing up to 20 years in prison.
  13. Medzhit Abdurakhmanov was arrested on March 27, 2019. Charged under Part 2 of Article 205.5, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing up to 20 years in prison.
  14. Yashar Muedinov was arrested on March 27, 2019. Charged under Part 2 of Article 205.5, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing up to 20 years in prison.
  15. Bilyal Adilov was arrested on March 27, 2019. Charged under Part 2 of Article 205.5, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing up to 20 years in prison.
  16. Dzhemil Gafarov was arrested on March 27, 2019. Charged under Part 2 of Article 205.5, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing up to 20 years in prison.
  17. Riza Izetov was arrested on March 27, 2019. Charged under Part 1 of Article 205.5, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing a life imprisonment.
  18. Izzet Abdullaev was arrested on March 27, 2019. Charged under Part 2 of Article 205.5, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing up to 20 years in prison.
  19. Asan Yanikov was arrested on March 27, 2019. Charged under Part 2 of Article 205.5, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing up to 20 years in prison.
  20. Shaban Umerov was arrested on March 27, 2019. Charged under Part 1 of Article 205.5, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing a life imprisonment.
  21. Osman Arifmemetov was arrested on March 27, 2019. Charged under Part 2 of Article 205.5, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing up to 20 years in prison.
  22. Ramsey Bekirov was arrested on March 27, 2019. Charged under Part 1 of Article 205.5, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing a life imprisonment.
  23. Vladlen Abdulkadyrov was arrested on March 27, 2019. Charged under Part 2 of Article 205.5, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing up to 20 years in prison.
  24. Raim Aivazov was arrested on March 27, 2019. Charged under Part 2 of Article 205.5, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing up to 20 years in prison.

The case of three from Belogorsk (detained in 2019)

  1. Riza Omerov was arrested on June 10, 2019. Charged under Charged under Part 2 of Article 205.5, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing up to 20 years in prison.
  2. Enver Omerov was arrested on June 10, 2019. Charged under Part 1 of Article 205.5, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing a life imprisonment.
  3. Ayder Dzhapparov was arrested on June 10, 2019. Charged under Part 2 of Article 205.5, Part 1 of Article 30, and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing up to 20 years in prison.

The case of five from Alushta and Simferopol districts (detained in 2019)

  1. Eskender Suleimanov was arrested on June 10, 2019. Charged under Part 2 of Article 205.5 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing up to 20 years in prison.
  2. Ruslan Nagaev was arrested on June 10, 2019. Charged under Part 2 of Article 205.5 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing up to 20 years in prison.
  3. Eldar Kantimirov was arrested on June 10, 2019. Charged under Part 2 of Article 205.5 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing up to 20 years in prison.
  4. Ruslan Mesutov was arrested on June 10, 2019. Charged under Part 1 of Article 205.5 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing a life imprisonment.
  5. Lenur Khalilov was arrested on June 10, 2019. Charged under Part 1 of Article 205.5 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing a life imprisonment.

The case of five from Bakhchisaray (detained in 2020)

  1. Osman Seytumerov was arrested on March 11, 2020. Charged under Part 2 of Article 205.5 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing up to 20 years in prison.
  2. Seytumer Seytumerov was arrested on March 11, 2020. Charged under Part 2 of Article 205.5 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing up to 20 years in prison.
  3. Rustem Seytmemetov was arrested on March 11, 2020. Charged under Part 2 of Article 205.5 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing up to 20 years in prison.
  4. Amet Suleymanov was placed under house arrest on March 12, 2020. Charged under Part 2 of Article 205.5 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing up to 20 years in prison.
  5. Seytumer Seytumerov was charged under Part 1 of Article 205.5 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is facing a life imprisonment. He remains at large.

The Free Russia Foundation strongly condemns persecution of activists and human rights defenders in occupied Crimea and demands that the Russian Federation government immediately cease (1) its unlawful suppression and obstruction of civil, journalists, 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, human rights activities, and religious believes.

Please sign the global petition to the UN, the Council of Europe, the European Union, and the OSCE to save the lives of thousands of illegally detained in Russia, the Russian-occupied Crimea, and part of the Donbas from the threat of COVID-19 infection in prisons.

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