To international organizations and
the governments of Ukraine,
EU member states, Switzerland, Norway,
USA, Canada, Australia and Japan
On May 21, 2018, two Crimean Tatar activists, Edem Smailov and Server Mustafayev, were detained after the searches in their houses in Russia-occupied Crimea.
On May 22, the Kyiv District Court of Simferopol controlled by the Russian Federation arrested the detainees for 20 days until June 9, 2018. Edem Smailov and Server Mustafayev are suspected of membership in an organization (recognized as terrorist in Russia) in accordance with Part 2 of Article 205.5 of the Russian Criminal Code. The case was merged with the case of the second Bakhchisarai group also prosecuted under the pretext of presumable relation to Hizb ut-Tahrir.
We call on international organizations and governments of democratic countries:
- To urge the Russian Federation to release Serve Mustafayev and Edem Smailov, as well as to immediately stop the persecution of Ukrainian citizens – activists and human rights defenders in occupied Crimea, and to stop the pressure on the civic movement “Crimean Solidarity”.
- To condemn the use by the Russian Federation of its anti-terrorist and anti-extremist legislation for the prosecution of activists and human rights defenders in occupied Crimea.
- To impose personal sanctions on persons involved in the persecution of Servast Mustafayev and Edem Smailov, as well as other political prisoners of the Kremlin.
- To strengthen sectoral sanctions against the Russian Federation for systematic gross violations of human rights and war crimes in Russia-occupied Crimea.
We urge the Government of Ukraine:
- To conduct an effective investigation into the persecution of Ukrainian citizens Serve Mustafayev and Edem Smailov, and to bring to justice the perpetrators of gross human rights violations and war crimes in Crimea.
- To provide systematic and comprehensive support to Server Mustafayev, Ede Smaylov, their families and all political prisoners illegally deprived of freedom by the Russian Federation and the occupation authorities of Crimea, including resolving this issue at the legislative level, observing the requirements of human rights standards and international humanitarian law.
We are convinced of the politically motivated nature of these cases. The reason of persecution of Ukrainian citizens Eden Smailov and Servover Mustafayev is precisely their active civic position, and the aim of the Crimean authorities controlled by Russia is to suppress any resistance on the peninsula. Server Mustafayev is a well-known human rights defender and one of the coordinators of the civic movement “Crimean Solidarity”, created to protect victims of human rights violations on the peninsula. Server formed and coordinated the work of a team of local activists who made video recordings of illegal searches in Crimean Tatars’ houses and trials in politically motivated cases. He provided contacts of local activists to the media and informed about current events in Crimea. Edem also actively expressed his solidarity with the families of the detainees, in particular, often attending court hearings and searches.
Given repeated attempts to exert pressure on the members of the “Crimean Solidarity” movement and the important role of Server in this movement, we consider his arrest as an attempt to create further obstacles to the activities of “Crimean Solidarity”.
We strongly condemn the persecution of activists on the territory of occupied Crimea and call on Russian authorities to immediately stop human rights violations and to release illegally detained citizens of Ukraine.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine has already expressed its strong protest in connection with the illegal detention of Server Mustafayev and Edem Smailov. However, for the effective protection of Ukrainian citizens it is important not only to increase pressure on Russia at the bilateral level and internaationally, but also to urgently pass the law on the status of protected persons, and provide systemic state support to all political prisoners of the Kremlin and their families.
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
Media Initiative for Human Rights
Human Rights Information Center
Crimean Human Rights Group
People in Need
Human Rights Movement of Crimea NGO
Regional Center for Human Rights
Civic movement “Crimean Solidarity”