Protest held in Kyiv against the persecution of Crimean lawyer Kurbedinov

About 50 human rights defenders and social activists protested at the Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) in Kyiv against the detention of lawyer Emil Kurbedinov.

As reported by the correspondent of the Human Rights Information Centre.

Emil Kurbedinov, who is the lawyer of Ilmi Umerov, Mykola Semena, Emir-Useyin Kuku and other defendants in the cases of Crimean Muslims and so-called cases of saboteurs (particularly, Redvan Suleymanov), was sentenced to an administrative arrest for a term of 10 days. The Center for Combating Extremism accuses him of publishing photos of a protest, which took place in 2013. There is a symbol of “Hizb ut-Tahrir” on the photo. Russia’s Supreme Court banned “Hizb ut-Tahir” in 2003 and included it in the list of terrorist organizations.

Human rights defenders consider the persecution of Kurbedinov to be political persecution. Human Rights House Foundation, Freedom House Ukraine, Civic Solidarity Platform, Front Line Defenders, Human Rights Information Centre, Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, Crimean Human Rights Group and other non-governmental organizations have given statements of support towards the lawyer. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine has also declared the protest.

Protesters in a theatrical manner depicted the persecution of people in the occupied Crimea by arresting people, including “the lawyer Emil Kurbedinov”, in a cell, which is named “Russian world”.

“Russia does not respond to any form of statements of the international community. It (Russia – ed.) does not care what it has been asked to do. Russia continues to suppress any dissent in the Crimea. Crimean Tatars, who have not bowed to the invaders and continue preserving their honor and dignity, who are not recognizing Russia, are a target for a purposeful discrimination, aggression and repressions. Russia is doing everything possible to drive out Crimean Tatars from the Crimea”, - said Refat Chubarov, the Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People and the People’s Deputy of the Ukrainian political party.

He states that there is a shortage of professional and independent in the Russian-occupied Crimea.

“There are only several of such people. And now Russia sank to crushing the people, who have the courage to defend political prisoners and through these people the world could see the trustworthy situation with political prisoners and human rights in the Crimea”, - said Refat Chubarov. He urged the international partners to disconnect Russia from the SWIFT system, the system of international bank transactions, as well as to impose an embargo on the purchase of energy products in Russia for several months.

Zoryan Kis, the Manager for Advocacy and Partnerships of the Freedom House Office in Ukraine, called for solidarity with the Crimean political prisoners.

Amnesty International urged to sign a petition in support of the Crimean lawyer, by signing a petition to de-facto prosecutor on the peninsula and to the General Prosecutor of Russia.

“We call on the de-facto authorities in the Crimea and governance in Russia to comply with human rights standards regarding the human rights defenders and the lawyers. I urge you to sign this petition. We need to act, in order to show that we care”, - said Oksana Pokalchuk, the Executive Director of Amnesty International in Ukraine.

According to Tamila Tasheva and the public organization CrimeaSOS, currently there is “elimination” of advocacy before the possible deterioration of human rights in the Russian-occupied Crimea.

“More proactive actions can begin right now to further pursue the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People as an extremist organization. Accordingly, those administrative proceedings that are conducted against members of the Mejlis may transform into criminal proceedings”, - she said.

According to Eskender Bariev, the Chairman of the Crimean Tatar Resource Center, occupational authorities began an attack on the lawyers in order to further intimidate ordinary people, as well as the lawyers in the Crimea. After all, according to him, they have recently became more active.

“Their other task is to dismiss the lawyers from the criminal proceedings that are currently conducted by the occupational authority against our activists. Because these cases are full of lies. They are falling apart”, - he said.

During the protest Oleksandra Matviychuk, the Head of the Board of Center for Civil Liberties, said what exactly could improve the human rights situation in the Crimea. Particularly, she noted the establishment of a platform for the discussion of human rights violations on the peninsula.

“We need to intensify, no matter how difficult it will be, the negotiations with our international partners and talk about the creation of a format, with which we could discuss the issues in the Crimea. The events in Avdiivka will be discussed in the Normandy format during the Minsk group session. But where to discuss the arrest of Emil Kurbedinov? This platform does not exist, but it is necessary to create it”, - she said.

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