Memorial Human Rights Centre, in line with the international definition of the term political prisoner, has declared Teimur Abdullayev, Uzeir Abdullayev, Rustem Ismailov, Emil Dzhemadenov and Aider Saledinov political prisoners. We demand their immediate release.
- On 18 June the North Caucasus District Military Court sentenced five residents of Crimea to terms ranging from 12 to 17 years in a strict regime prison colony for organising cells of Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami and taking part in the organisation (Article 205.5 of the Russian Criminal Code). The Supreme Court of Russia banned and designated Hizb ut-Tahrir as a terrorist organisation in 2003.
- The five Muslims from Crimea, as it transpired, were found guilty only of being members of the Muslim organisation. They were not charged with preparing acts of terrorism or making threats of terrorism. There was no evidence whatsoever in the case that the defendants committed or planned to commit crimes of violence, let alone any actions that could be called terrorist in common sense terms.
- Memorial considers the designation of Hizb ut-Tahrir as a terrorist organisation unlawful. Russia is the only country in the world to have classified the organisation as terrorist. The Supreme Court decision that simultaneously banned the activities of a large number of Islamic organisations contained only one paragraph of three sentences on Hizb ut-Tahrir. The decision cited no evidence of the organisation’s terrorist activities.
- The unjust and unlawful nature of the prosecution of Muslims in Crimea accused of involvement in Hizb ut-Tahrir is aggravated by the fact that, under Ukrainian law, the organisation had functioned legally on the peninsula. According to the materials of the investigation, the convicted men became members of Hizb ut-Tahrir perfectly legally in 2006 when no one yet imagined that Russia would occupy the Crimea and this action would become a ‘crime.’
‘About 60 people in Crimea have been sentenced to terms in prison on charges of belonging to Hizb ut-Tahrir,’ said Sergei Davidis, head of the programme in support of political prisoners at Memorial Human Rights Centre. ‘In Crimea, in addition to those factors which have seen prosecutions conducted for belonging to Hizb ut-Tahrir in Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Moscow and Chelyabinsk regions, these charges have been used as an instrument of repression against the civic movement of Crimean Tatars, an instrument of repression on the basis of ethnicity. These charges have proved to be a useful instrument for the suppression of a population group in the occupied territory that, in the perception of the Russian authorities, is «disloyal." This gives an especially tragic note to the prosecution of Crimean Tatars.’
More information about this case is available here.
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.
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