En Ru Ua

26.01.2017

Stop the persecution of human rights lawers in occupied Crimea!

The violent attack against lawyers carrying out their professional duties and defending rights of Ukrainian citizens in the occupied peninsula has been expanding during last two days.

On 25 January, lawyer Nikolai Polozov was detained by FSB officers in Simferopol. It happened immediately after his arrival from the PACE session where he was reporting the facts of political persecution in Crimea. The FSB officers detained him for interrogation in the criminal case against Ilmi Umerov. Since Mr Polozov represents Mr Umerov in this case, he cannot provide witness testimony. Eventually, Mr Polozov was released in 2 and a half hours.

The next day morning, January the 26th, it became known about the abduction of lawyers Edem Semedlyaev and Emil Kurbedinov by representatives of the ‘Center for Combatting Extremism’ (‘Center E’) of the Ministry of internal affairs of the Russian Federation. The lawyers were heading to Bakhchysarai in order to provide legal assistance to the family of a civic activist, Mr Saliev, whose house was being searched since the early morning of that day. The lawyers’ car was stopped by traffic police (‘DPS’) referring to ‘a database check’. Subsequently, officials of “Center E” arrived and declared the ‘administrative detention’ of Emil Kurbedinov.

Emil Kurbedinov was brought to and detained in the premises of the ‘Center for Combatting Extremism’ (‘Center E’) in Simferopol. Later, he was taken to the ‘Zaliznychnii district court of Simferopol’ for an administrative case trial. According to the Kurbedinov’s legal representative, Dzhemil Temishev, Emil is being ‘charged’ with the distribution of ‘extremist materials’. Meanwhile, Russian law enforcement officers carried out unlawful searches in the legal offices of Mr Kurbedinov and Mr Smedlyayev and seized all their equipment, including all the storage devices and documents that are subject to legal advice privilege.

We are firmly convinced that such actions of the Russian security services are the response to their intense activities as human rights lawyers.

The human rights organizations express their strong condemnation of unlawful actions of the representatives of the occupation authorities in Crimea and demand the urgent and unconditional release of Mr Kurbedinov.

Human rights defenders emphasize the international guarantees of legal profession and demand to ensure compliance with such guarantees as to all lawyers, who defend victims of human rights violations and politically prosecuted on Crimean peninsula.

By persecuting Nikolai  Polozov and Emil Kurbedinov—a very few human rights lawyers operating in Crimea—the occupation authorities not only put pressure on the lawyers and obstruct their conduct, but also deprive the Crimeans of the little chance to defend their rights.

FOR THE ABOVE REASONS, WE DEMAND TO TAKE ALL THE POSSIBLE URGENT MEASURES IN RESPONSE TO THE REPRESSIONS AGAINST HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYERS IN CRIMEA

  • The President and the Government of Ukraine, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are to make public statements demanding the urgent release of Emil Kurbedinov, a ukrainian lawyer abducted in the territory of Ukraine and termination of political persecution of other ukrainians and further violations of their rights in the territory of Crimea.
  • International non-governmental organizations, namely Amnesty International, Freedom House, Human Rights Watch, Front Line Defenders are to make public statements about inadmissibility of prosecuting lawyers and human rights defenders, and also to address international stakeholders and responsible officials with a request of appropriate reaction.
  • International intergovernmental organizations, namely Council of Europe, OSCE, UN, EU are to denounce actions of the Russian Federation in Crimea concerning the prosecution of lawyers, and also apply personal sanctions to persons involved in such persecutions.

 

Arcadiy Bushchenko, Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union

Tetyana Pechonchyk, Human Rights Information Centre

Olga Skrypnyk, Crimean Human Rights Group

Mariia Tomak, Media Initiative for Human Rights

Yevhen Zakharov, Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group

Yevhenia Zakrevska, lawyer

Tamila Tasheva, Non-government organisation ‘Crimea SOS’

Olexandra Matviichuk, Center for Civil Liberties

Eskender Bariiev, CRIMEAN TATAR RESOURCE CENTER

News

31.07.2017

Crimean citizens are recruited into the Russian army in violation of the Geneva Convention on the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of WarOn 30 July, 2017 another action was held in Sevastopol calling to serve under the contract in the Russian army. The citizens of Sevastopol again were recruited for military service. At the so-called “point of selection for military service on a contract basis” they distributed booklets with agitation to serve in separate coastal defence brigade 126 and in landing ships brigade 197 of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation. Agitation was held in Sevastopol during the celebration of the day of the Navy on Nakhimov Square. According to the Crimea.Realii website, an exhibition of land military equipment was held on the same square; The exhibition included: a mobile coastal anti-ship missile system “Bastion” with a unified homing missile “Yakhont”, a mobile command and staff radio station, a floating wheeled armoured personnel carrier, an anti-aircraft missile system S-300 “Favorit” for the destruction of modern and prospective aircraft, a 122 mm missile-antiaircraft complex Grad, a multiple launch rocket system “Uragan”, an anti-aircraft missile system “Pantsir”, an air defence missile system “Osa”, a charging car, a self-propelled artillery “Gvozdika”. According to Russian media, the occupation authorities held a naval parade in the city, where military a demonstration fire was organized. The event began with the entrance of the three-masted sailing frigate “Khersones” to the Sevastopol Bay, at which students of the Ukrainian University (Kerch State Maritime Technological University) earlier had a maritime practice. According to local and Russian media, the training ship “Perekop”, missile cruiser “Moscow” and the diesel-electric submarine “Stary Oskol”, as well as the naval aviation Ka-27 helicopters and Su-30SM fighters, also took part in the military parade. Such actions of the Russian Federation in the territory of Ukraine, which was occupied by it, grossly violate international humanitarian law and are prohibited by international conventions. The Crimean Human Rights Group (CHRG) earlier recorded the holding of similar agitation events for military service in the Russian army in the occupied peninsula. We remind you that Article 51 of the Geneva Convention on the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War explicitly prohibits the invocation of an occupying power in the occupied territory. The head of the CHRG, Olga Skrypnik, noted that among other things the Convention prohibits propaganda of the military conscription in the occupied territories, including all the advertising posters, various “patriotic” events in schools and universities where people are called to go to the Russian army. Both contractual and regular service are under the ban. Photos of the mobile point of military drafting and promotional booklets were made on 30 July in Sevastopol.

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