Russian Court Sentenced Five Defendants of Crimean Muslims Case to 12-14 Years of Confinement

A Russian court has sentenced five defendants of the Crimean Muslim Case to 12 to 14 years in confinement.

On May 12, in the Southern Area Military Court, a panel of judges composed of Rizvan Zubayirov, Roman Saprunov and Maxim Nikitin pronounced sentences to Izzet Abdullayev, Vladlen Abdulkadyrov, Tofik Abdulgaziyev, Medzhit Abdurakhmanov: 12 years in the maximum security penal colony, with the first 5 years to be served in prison. Bilial Adilov was sentenced to 14 years in the maximum security penal colony, with the first 5 years to be served in prison.

According to activist Mumine Saliyeva, on April 18, public prosecutor Nesterov demanded for Tofik Abdulgaziyev, Vladlen Abdulkadyrov, Izzet Abdullayev, Medzhit Abdurakhmanov and Bilial Adilov 15 years in the maximum security penal colony, including three years to be served in prison, and restriction of freedom for 1 year and 6 months when the sentence had been served.

All ‘case’ defendants were charged under RF CC Article 30-1 (Preparation for a crime and attempted crime), Article 278 (Forcible seizure of power or forcible retention of power), Article 205.5-2 (Participation in the activities of the organization recognized as terrorist in accordance with the laws of the Russian Federation is).

To remind: in March 2019, 25 Crimean Tatar public activists were detained: Ruslan Suleymanov, Alim Karimov, Rustem Sheikhaliyev, Medzhit Abdurakhmanov, Yashar Muyedinov, Bilial Adilov, Dzhemil Gafarov, Riza Izetov, Izzet Abdullayev, Asan Yanikov, Shaban Umerov, Tofil Abdulgaziyev, Seytveli Seytabdiyev, Rustem Seytkhalilov, Akim Bekirov, Farkhod Bazarov, Servet Gaziyev, Seyran Murtaz, Erfan Osmanov, Osman Arifmemetov, Remzi Bekirov, Eskender Suleymanov, Enver Ametov, Vladlen Abdulkadyrov and Rayim Ayvazov.

All of them are accused of membership in the Hizb ut-Tahrir Islamic political party. At the stage of the investigation, the accused were divided into 5 subgroups, that, in the opinion of lawyers, is a “quasi-legal procedure”, as the same case materials are heard in court 5 times.

As reported, on March 10, the court sentenced Remzi Bekirov, a Grani.ru online media correspondent, and Riza Izetov, a human rights activist, to 19 years in confinement with serving the first 5 years in prison and the following years in the maximum security penal colony, followed with further freedom restriction for 1 year and 6 months. Activist Rayim Aivazov was sentenced to 17 years in confinement with serving the first 5 years in prison and with further freedom restriction for 1 year and 6 months. Activist Shaban Umerov was sentenced to 18 years in confinement with serving the first 5 years in prison and with further freedom restriction for 1 year and 6 months.

On March 18, a panel of judges of the Southern Area Military Court composed of Presiding Judge Aleksandr Generalov, Judges Dmitriy Merkulov and Aleksey Sannikov found three defendants guilty and approved a conviction: Akim Bekirov, Seytveli Seytabdiyev and Rustem Seytkhalilov were sentenced to 14 years in confinement with serving the first 5 years in prison and the following years in the maximum security penal colony.

As reported by the CHRG, the defendants of the ‘Crimean Muslims Case’ are accused of membership in Islamic organizations or propagandizing the activities of organizations that are recognized as terrorist or extremist in Russia, but not as such by Ukrainian law.

Cases are being heard in violation of the right to a fair trial, the main evidence for the court is the testimony of anonymous witnesses (many of whom are FSB officers), the pre-trial testimony of witnesses who later testified in court that such testimony had been given under pressure, and linguistic examinations of conversations of the accused Muslims. The evidence provided by the defence is usually left without consideration by judges.

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