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Monday, 16 May 2022 09:53 GMT

Pressure on activists, lawyers, journalists growing in occupied Crimea rights NGO


(MENAFN- UkrinForm) Mass arrests of activists, increased pressure on defense attorneys, and detention of journalists on the job – this is how the Crimean Solidarity non-profit describes the actions of the occupied Crimea's security forces over the past month.

That's according to Crimean Solidarity 's report posted on Facebook with reference to civic journalist Zidan Adzhikelyamov, Ukrinform reports.

“This month we observed the flagrant behavior on the part of the security forces, who were detaining people who arrived at the courts ... OMON pushed the activists into the bus, and then they were held at the police station,” Adzhikelyamov said.

According to the journalist, those apprehended were charged under Article 20.2.2 and Article 20.6.1 of the Russian Administrative Code for violations in setting up mass events and failure to comply with the demands of authorities in case of emergency or its threat, respectively.

Read also: MFA Ukraine protests verdict in Crimea n Tatars' case

Besides, Adzhikelyamov noted, the security forces detained Edem Semedliaev, a defense attorney who had arrived at the police station in Simferopol to provide legal assistance to the detained citizens.

As for detentions of journalists, Adzhikelyamov said they were an“alarming trend.”

According to the reporter, from September 4 to November 1 alone, seven journalists were apprehended in Crimea while performing their professional duties.

“In my opinion, the competent authorities, as well as human rights organizations, should assess these systematic violations of journalists' rights and develop mechanisms to protect journalistic work, so I urge my colleagues not to leave these flagrant violations without publicity,” the Crimean Solidarity correspondent said.

He noted that at present, Russia's Southern District Military Court is hearing more than 10 criminal cases involving“terrorism” charges against Crimean Tatars.

“The judicial conveyor belt just doesn't stop running against them, as dozens of Crimean Tatars are being targeted in criminal cases, accused of terrorism,” the journalist said.

As reported, on October 29, the Russian court sentenced four suspects in the so-called Third Bakhchisaray Hizb ut-Tahrir Group” case to 12 to 17 years in a maximum-security colony.

Read also: Kyiv hosts rally in support of Kremlin prisoners

On November 1, the Military Court of Appeal in the town of Vlasikha, Moscow Region, upheld the verdict handed down to the convicts in the Lrasnogvardeysk Hizb ut-Tahrir Group case: three Crimean Tatar men will spend from 12 to 17 years in a Russian colony.

During the broadcast of the hearings, mass detentions of activists took place outside the so-called“Crimean Garrison Military Court." On November 1, security officials nabbed 19 individuals. Other such detentions occurred outside the court premises on October 25 and October 11.

The detainees were subsequently fined for organizing what Russian law calls a "simultaneous mass presence of citizens in public settings, which entailed a violation of public order."

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