On June 19, 2018, the Central District “Court” of Simferopol, established in the occupied Crimea and controlled by the Russian Federation, sentenced five Ukrainian citizens to probationary periods for participating in a peaceful rally held on February 26, 2014 in Simferopol, Autonomous Republic of Crimea.
Eskander Emerveliyev was given a suspended sentence of 3 years 6 months with 3 years probation; Eskander Kantemirov and Arsen Yunusov – suspended sentence of 4 years with 3 years probation; Ali Asanov – suspended sentence of 4 years 6 months with 4 years probation; Mustafa Degermenji – suspended sentence of 4 years 6 months with 3 years probation.
All of them were accused of participating in alleged rioting and had been under investigation since 2015 in connection with the February 26 case. Earlier, three Crimean Tatars, including deputy head of the Mejlis Akhtem Chyigoz, had already been prosecuted in connection with the same case.
According to the report on the February 26 case of an international group of experts consisting of representatives from 6 human rights organizations from 4 countries, Russia’s true agenda in its actions against the accused was not investigation of the events of February 26, but persecution of individual participants of the rally for their pro-Ukrainian position. The fact that that Russia’s proxy authorities prosecuted only participants of the “pro-Ukrainian” rally from among the representatives of the Crimean Tatar people, as well as Russia’s lack of jurisdiction and legal grounds for investigating the events of February 26, 2014, both under international and national law, prove the unjustified political persecution of Ukrainian citizens in the February 26 case.
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union strongly condemns the actions of Russia’s proxy authorities in Crimea aimed at unlawful political persecution of Ukrainian citizens in Crimea for their participation in a peaceful rally of February 26, 2014.
UHHRU urges law enforcement bodies of Ukraine to launch a thorough investigation into the events of February 26, 2014, as well as the unlawful detention and criminal prosecution of Ukrainian citizens for their participation in this peaceful rally.
UHHRU calls on the Government of Ukraine, governments of democratic countries and international organizations to condemn the sentences passed by Russia’s proxy authorities on citizens of Ukraine Ali Asanov, Mustafa Degermenji, Eskander Emerveliyev, Eskander Kantemirov and Arsen Yunusov, as well as to continue pressuring the Russian Federation into ceasing political persecution of Ukrainian citizens.
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union