In 2013 Nariman Memedeminov, a citizen of Ukraine, posted reports on the web about events organised in Crimea by Hizb ut-Tahrir, an organisation at that time legal in Ukraine, but banned in the Russian Federation.
The FSB has charged Nariman Memedeminov, a resident of Crimea, with publishing on YouTube, between February 2013 and March 2014, videos containing «public incitement to terrorism, including statements intended to engage other persons in the activities of Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami» — an organisation designated as terrorist in Russia in 2003.
In two videos from 2013 the activist reported on events organised by Hizb ut-Tahrir in Simferopol. The first concerned a rally, the second a conference. The reports contained no calls to terrorism, extremism or violence.
Both videos were published before the occupation of Crimea by Russia, in other words, at a time when Ukrainian legislation, under which there is no ban on such publications or on the activities of Hizb ut-Tahrir, was fully in force on the peninsula. It is completely unlawful to prosecute residents of Crimea under Russian criminal law for actions that took place in the period before the Russian occupation.
In one other video, posted on 25 March 2014, Nariman Memedeminov, in a group of men beneath a flag used by Hizb ut-Tahrir, read an appeal in English in defence of Muslims in Central Africa. There were no calls to terrorism, extremism or violence in this appeal.
Furthermore, neither in the ruling of the Russian Supreme Court banning Hizb ut-Tahrir, nor in the materials of the criminal case against Nariman Memedeminov that has been investigated in Russia and the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States, are there any facts witnessing to terrorist or other kind of violent activity by this organisation. Memorial Human Rights Centre considers this ruling to be unlawful.
Nariman Memedeminov is an active participant in the civil society movement Crimean Solidarity that assists Crimean Tatars persecuted by the Russian authorities. Memedeminov presented live broadcasts from the politically-motivated trials of Crimean residents and from locations where police were conducting searches.
We consider the decision to remand Memedeminov in custody to be a blow against the activities of Crimean Solidarity intended to silence critics of the authorities.
We believe the prosecution of Nariman Memedeminov is related to his non-violent human rights work and journalism, and his criticism of the Russian law enforcement agencies. The prosecution is part of an on-going campaign of repression by the authorities against the Crimean Tatars, whom the authorities consider to be their opponents for not recognising Russian jurisdiction in Crimea.
We demand the immediate release of Nariman Memedeminov and the dropping of the charges laid against him.
Recognition of an individual as a political prisoner, or of a prosecution as politically motivated, does not imply that Memorial Human Rights Centre shares or approves the individual’s views, statements or actions.
For more information about this case, see here.
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