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Freedom House urges Russia to release Kurbedinov

27.01.2017, 11:29

International human rights organization Freedom House urges Russia to immediately release the lawyer Emil Kurbedinov and activist Seyran Saliyeva, who were illegally detained in occupied Crimea on 26 January.

Freedom House issued the following statement:

“Russia should release Kurbedinov and Saliev and should begin complying with the international law on occupation,” said Robert Herman, vice president for international programs. “Russian forces’ repeated violation of basic legal principles has made Crimea an area where fundamental human rights no longer apply, and where there is little hope for legal challenges to the security forces’ whims.”

Background:

On January 26, occupation forces detained Emil Kurbedinov, a prominent Crimean Tatar lawyer in Crimea, and one of his clients, Seyran Saliev. Kurbedinov was arrested and almost immediately tried and convicted of propaganda or public display of Nazi or extremist symbols, apparently for a 2013 video post on the Russian social media network VK which showed an event organized by Hizb-ut-Tahrir, the Islamic group banned in Russia. Kurbedinov was sentenced to 10 days in jail.

Saliev is expected to be charged with terrorism. Saliev’s home was aggressively searched by armed men apparently looking for materials connected with Hizb-ut-Tahrir. Saliev is a civic activist who was fined in May 2016 for announcing through the loudspeaker of a minaret about the illegal searches in Crimean Tatar homes in Crimea. Russian forces in Crimea frequently use the charge of alleged affiliation with Hizb-ut-Tahrir to persecute peaceful activists.

On January 26, in the house of the Crimean Tatar activist Seyran Saliev were held a search, according to relatives, the Russian security forces were looking for banned literature. Saliyev was taken to Bakhchysarai police department of the Russian Interior Ministry.
On the same day, Russian road police stopped a car with lawyers Emil Kurbedinov and Eden Semedliaev in the Crimea. Later, FSB officers arrived to the place and detained Kurbedinova.

Emil Kurbedinov is a lawyer of a number of defendants in the "case of Hizb ut-Tahrir", "clashes on February 26", and the Crimean journalist Mykola Semena.

On January 25, Mykola Polozov was arrested and sent for questioning by Simferopol FSB. Polozov is a lawyer in Ilmi Umerov and Akhtem Chyigoz. Polozov appraises his his arrest as a kidnapping.

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