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Amnesty International human rights activists demand to overturn Umerov's verdict
08:48, 28 September 2017
Amnesty International human rights activists demand to overturn Umerov's verdict

Conviction of one of the leaders of Crimean Tatar people is an encroachment on fundamental rights and freedoms on the peninsula

08:48, 28 September 2017

Open source

Sentence of Ilmi Umerov, a well-known critic of the Russian occupation and leader of the Crimean Tatar people, is an encroachment on the basic rights and freedoms on the peninsula and must be immediately cancelled. This was stated by the international human rights organization Amnesty International.

The sentencing of Ilmi Umerov, who is 60 and has Parkinson’s disease, marks yet another stage in the de facto government’s lengthy persecution of him. His imprisonment follows a series of politically-motivated trials, arbitrary arrests and intimidation against critics of Russian authorities in Crimea. It is a clear violation of freedom of expression,” said Oksana Pokalchuk, Director of Amnesty International Ukraine.

Human rights activists note that in less than one month, three vocal critics of Russia’s annexation of Crimea have been convicted after being brought before criminal courts for non-violently opposing the de facto authorities. On 22 September, Ukrainian journalist and Crimea resident, Mykola Semena was found guilty on similar “separatism” charges. Eleven days before that, Akhtem Chiygoz, deputy leader of the Mejlis – the executive-representative body for Crimean Tatars – was sentenced to eight years in a penal colony after a sham trial sentenced to eight years in prison after a trial.

Related: United Kingdom condemns Umerov’s sentence

As it was reported earlier the so-called Simferopol District Court in occupied Crimea sentenced the Deputy Head of Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People Ilmi Umerov to two years in colony.

Ilmi Umerov was arrested by Russian authorities on May 12, 2014 after protesting illegal Russian occupation of the Crimean Peninsula and the repression of native Crimean Tatars. For publicly speaking out against Russia’s illegal occupation, Russian authorities have charged Mr. Umerov with “public calls to action aimed at violating Russian territorial integrity,” which can carry a prison sentence of five years. More alarmingly, in August 2016, Russian authorities took Mr. Umerov to Psychiatric Hospital No. 1 in Simferopol, where he was held against his will.

Related: Poroshenko called on international colleagues to increase pressure on Russia because of Umerov’s sentence

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