The court hearing at Kyiv District court in Simferopol took place on April 5. It started with consideration of a petition of Russia’s FSB (federal security service) to hold the session behind closed doors (15minut.org). According to lawyer Emil Kurtbedinov who protects the four defendants – Emir Husein-Kuk, Vadym Siruk, Enver Bekirov and Muslim Aliev, there are no legal grounds for that. The court eventually prolonged their detention until June 8.
The families of the detained Crimean Tatars are outraged; they believe this way law enforcers could conceal signs of torture and beatings. They also say the detained citizens have been delivered to court room, while the prosecution side denies it.
In February, Russia’s special service searched houses of Crimean Tatars, detaining 14 persons. Later, ten of them were released. Those who stayed in detention faced accusation in organizing a terrorist organization and participating in it.
According to Natalya Poklonskaya, the so-called “Prosecutor” of the Russian-annexed Crimea, searches in houses of Crimean Tatars took place due to the investigation on activities of Hizb ut-Tahrir terrorist organization at the peninsula. She said four Hizb-ut Tahrir members were detained during the investigations, all of them Crimean Tatars. However, the “prosecutor” denies that their origin or nationality have anything to do with activities of the terrorist organization. “We do not divide people on account of ethnic descent", she said.
Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry called detention of Crimean Tatars repetition of the 1944 genocide; back then, thousands of Crimean Tatars were forcefully deported to Central Asia. They only managed to get back to their ancestral lands in the late 1980s.