Open statement by human rights organizations about Ilmi Umerov’s politically motivated persecution and illegal conviction

The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, Crimean Human Rights Group and Human Rights Information Center strongly condemn the illegal and cynical actions of the Russian occupation authorities in Crimea concerning politically motivated persecution and illegal conviction of Ilmi Umerov, a member of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, as a result of his public statements in support of the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

On September 27, in occupied Crimea that is controlled by the Russian Federation, the “Simferopol District Court” in violation of fundamental human rights and international humanitarian law, sentenced Ilmi Umerov, deputy head of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people and one of the leaders of the Crimean Tatar national movement, to two-year imprisonment in a penal colony settlement and banned him from engaging in public activities for two years.

Ilmi Umerov was convicted under part 2 Article 280.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation “Public calls for actions aimed at violating the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation committed with the use of information and telecommunication networks (including the Internet)” for his public statements in support of the territorial integrity of Ukraine. During the entire “trial,” he did not renounce his position and continued to insist on the territorial integrity of Crimea of Ukraine, the obligations of Russia to adhere to internationally recognized borders in the world, compliance with and implementation by Russia of United Nations General Assembly Resolutions no. 68/262 “Territorial integrity of Ukraine” of March 27, 2014 and no. 71/205 “Situation of human rights in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (Ukraine)” of December 19, 2016.

The physical extrusion from Crimea of those, who disagree, as it was at the beginning of occupation, was replaced by systematic intimidation of the Crimean population, including using high-profile and politically motivated massacres. Only during the last month, the occupation authorities in Crimea sentenced Ilmi Umerov, Mykola Semenia and Akhtem Chiihoz; the authorities intend not only to punish those who disagree with the occupation but also to keep all others silent in the peninsula.

According to lawyers of Ilmi Umerov, the verdict made by the occupation court is not only an inappropriate punishment for the crime under investigation, but also taking into account the health condition of Ilmi Umerov, the level of medical care in the penal institutions of the Russian Federation “is equivalent to a death sentence”.

We express our solidarity with illegally detained Ilmi Umerov, strongly condemning the political and motivated persecution of him and all other political prisoners of the Kremlin, and demand:

From the authorities of the Russian Federation:

To immediately cancel the illegal sentence of the “Simferopol District Court” against Ilmi Umerov and stop any politically motivated persecutions in Crimea.

From the authorities of Ukraine:

To conduct an effective investigation into gross violations of human rights, to establish and bring to justice all persons involved in politically motivated persecution of Ilmi Umerov.

To impose personal sanctions on foreign nationals involved in politically motivated persecution of Ilmi Umerov.

From the international community:

To apply tough sanctions to all those involved in the politically motivated persecution of Ilmi Umerov, as well as to the authorities of the Russian Federation, who undoubtedly authorized the prosecution of Mr. Umerov and other political prisoners of the Kremlin.

To apply all possible diplomatic and political means in order to prevent the execution of the unlawful sentence and the transfer of Ilmi Umerov to the penal colony settlement to serve “punishment”.

Arkadiy Bushchenko, Executive Director of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union

Olha Skrypnyk, Chairwoman of the Crimean Human Rights Protection Group

Tetiana Pechonchyk, Chairwoman of the Human Rights Information Center

Photo – "Copyright © 2017 RFE / RL, Inc. Reprinted with permission of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty"

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