Kremlin crackdown gains momentum as Crimean Tatars prepare to mark anniversary of Stalin’s 1944 deportations

Ukrainian MP Refat Chubarov describes warning given by Russian FSB to a fellow top Mejlis leader
15:33, 17 May 2016

The self-proclaimed Russian authorities in occupied Crimea have warned the Deputy Head of the  Crimean Tatar Mejlis Ilmi Umerov against organising any commemorations on May 18, the anniversary of Stalin’s 1944 deportations of their indigenous group. That’s according to Ukrainian MP and Mejlis leader Refat Chubarov, during an interview with 112 Ukraine on Tuesday. 

“This morning, FSB agents were at his (Ilmi Umerov’s) place. I think they brought a judicial worker with them. They (the FSB) warned him he cannot organise any events. He refused to sign the respective paper, saying people will keep gathering and said people will still come individually, (leading to) a large number of people," he said to  112 Ukraine TV channel.

Ilmi Umerov was arrested on May 12, on accusations of ‘making public calls encroaching upon Russia’s territorial integrity’. That came two weeks after the Mejlis, the Crimean Tatars main representative body was banned on accusations of being ‘extremist’, the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group reports.

Since overwhelmingly boycotting the Kremlin’s internationally unrecognised referendum on succeeding from Ukraine in 2014, the Crimean Tatars have faced widespread persecution. In September 2015, the OSCE’s human rights office along with the OSCE’s High Commissioner on National Minorities published a report documenting ‘widespread human rights violations, discrimination and legal irregularities’ in Crimea. It claimed fundamental freedoms had all been restricted ‘through the sporadic targeting of individuals, media or communities seeking to peacefully present opposing views.”

Related: How Soviet authorities deported entire ethnic Crimean Tatar population from their homeland

Related: Ukraine’s city of Lviv prepares to commemorate 1944 Crimean Tatar deportation anniversary

Related: Remembering Stalin’s Crimes: Ukraine will mark 1944 Crimean Tatar deportation anniversary with photo exhibition

Related: Russia ‘scaring people to keep them silent’: Crimean Tatar Leader

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