On April 6, 2023, the Russian security forces took Crimean Solidarity citizen journalist Amet Suleymanov, who was under house arrest due to heart disease, into custody and transferred him to a pre-trial detention center in Simferopol. Earlier, the Southern District Military Court in Rostov-on-Don sentenced Suleymanov to 12 years in a high-security prison on trumped-up “terrorism” charges.
Amet Suleymanov is a citizen journalist, streamer of the Crimean Solidarity public association. He covered searches and arrests of Crimean Tatars, for which he was detained twice by the occupation authorities in 2017 and 2019. In recent years, Suleymanov had to limit his journalistic activity due to heart disease. He was under house arrest on politically motivated charges in the temporarily occupied Crimea from March 2020.
On March 11, 2020, Russian security forces arrested Suleymanov and three other Crimean Tatars on trumped-up charges of participating in the activities of a “terrorist organization” (Hizb ut-Tahrir, recognized as a terrorist organization in the Russian Federation). The next day, the occupation “court” in Crimea put Suleymanov under house arrest, taking into account his heart problems. On October 29, 2021, the Southern District Military Court (Rostov-on-Don, Russia) sentenced Amet Suleymanov to 12 years in prison. Suleymanov’s lawyers filed an appeal, but on February 9, 2023, the Military Court of Appeal (Vlasikha town, Russia) upheld the verdict of the court of first instance.
Amet Suleymanov is at risk of dying in prison due to the immediate need for heart valve replacement surgery. Imprisonment actually means a death sentence to a journalist.
Earlier, the UN Committee Against Torture called on the Russian Federation to suspend the execution of the sentence with actual imprisonment. The UN insists on conducting a comprehensive medical examination and providing the necessary treatment.
Transferring Amet Suleymanov to a pre-trial detention center is particularly alarming against the background of the systematic failure to provide proper medical care to other Crimean political prisoners, as a result of which two political prisoners — Kostiantyn Shyring and Dzhemil Hafarov — died in prison in February 2023, and political prisoner and citizen journalist Iryna Danylovych went on a hunger strike.
We call on the competent government agencies of Ukraine to:
- ensure an effective investigation into and documentation of the circumstances of the unlawful imprisonment of Amet Suleymanov and take all possible measures to hold those guilty to account
- impose personal sanctions on citizens of the Russian Federation involved in the unlawful imprisonment of Amet Suleymanov
- ensure an effective investigation into unlawful imprisonments and other gross violations of fundamental human rights in the temporarily occupied Crimea
- ensure timely reports on gross violations of human rights in the occupied Crimea at the national and international levels
- ensure full implementation of the Law of Ukraine “On Social and Legal Protection of Persons Imprisoned as a Result of Armed Aggression Against Ukraine and Members of Their Families”, in particular, the elaboration and approval of the necessary provisions on healthcare and rehabilitation, provision of health resort treatment
We call on the governments of foreign states and international organizations, in particular the International Crimea Platform participants, to:
- demand that the Russian Federation stop the politically motivated criminal prosecution of Amet Suleymanov and release him
- conduct international consultations to find mechanisms for the release and monitoring of the health status of Ukrainian prisoners in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied territories
- impose personal sanctions on persons involved in the unlawful imprisonment of Amet Suleymanov and other Ukrainian citizens in the occupied territories
- step up diplomatic, sanction and other types of pressure on the Russian Federation to prevent new violations of human rights in the occupied Crimea and other occupied territories of Ukraine, as well as to speed up the de-occupation of all territories of Ukraine
- provide assistance to the Government of Ukraine in the investigation into war crimes, crimes against humanity, and gross violations of human rights in the occupied Crimea and other occupied territories
- use the International Crimea Platform, the mechanisms of the UN, the Council of Europe, the OSCE and other international organizations to the fullest possible extent to speed up the release of Crimean political prisoners, civilian hostages in the occupied territories, to respond effectively to human rights violations in the occupied Crimea, and to promote the de-occupation of all territories of Ukraine
- further increase comprehensive, in particular security, support to Ukraine with the aim of de-occupying all territories of Ukraine, including the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol as a necessary condition for the protection of human rights and the cessation of politically motivated prosecution of Ukrainian citizens.
Human Rights Centre ZMINA
Human Rights Organization “Crimean Trial”
PLATFORM FOR RELEASE OF POLITICAL PRISONERS
Crimean Human Rights Group
Association of Relatives of Political Prisoners of the Kremlin
National Union of Journalists of Ukraine
Institute of Mass Information
Center for Civil Liberties
“Almenda” Civic Education Center
Human Rights Center “Action”