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Russian prosecutor asks for 18,5 years in a high security prison for a Crimean photographer

27.12.2022, 11:23
Photo from the Ametovs' family archive
Photo from the Ametovs' family archive

On December 26, in the Southern District Military Court of the Russian Federation, Russian prosecutor Evgeniy Kolpikov requested that photographer Ernes Ametov be sentenced to 18.5 years in a high security prison.

This was reported by the Crimean human rights activist Lutfiye Zudieva.

"This is his re-trial, and Ernes seems to be the only Crimean political prisoner to be tried on the same charges twice, but with a different panel composition and a different timeframe. The first time the Crimean Tatar was acquitted, how the court is going act now – nobody knows. He has already spent about four years of his life in a detention center. The State Prosecutor's Office and the special services still have not come to terms with even one acquittal under this article – not only in Crimea, but also throughout the Russian Federation, where Muslims from all over the Caucasus, Tatarstan, and the Volga region are being imprisoned with impunity and by the hundreds under article 205.5," wrote Zudieva.

She noted that the photographer was encouraged to become a classified witness, but Ametov refused.

"It is a great honor for me to represent a person who did not bulge when faced with such a choice... He did not start talking about things that did not happen. Their goal was to recruit Ametov to give the necessary testimony regarding other cases. Albeit false, contradictory, vague, but the kind of testimony the investigation needed," the human rights activist noted.

According to "Graty", on October 12, 2017, officers of the Russian FSB detained and then arrested Timur Ibragimov, Marlen (Suleiman) Asanov, Memet Belyalov, Seyran Saliyev, Server Zekiryaev and Ernes Ametov. All of them are members of "Crimean Solidarity" – an association of lawyers, relatives of political prisoners, and activists which provides assistance to Crimeans who have been persecuted for political or religious reasons.

Edem Smailov and "Crimean Solidarity" coordinator Server Mustafayev were detained and arrested later – on May 22, 2018.

According to the investigation, all the detainees were members of a cell in the Islamic party "Hizb ut-Tahrir", which has been banned in Russia in 2003, but operates freely in Ukraine and most European countries. Marlen Asanov, Timur Ibragimov, and Memet Belyalov stand accused of "organizing the activities of a terrorist organization" (Part 1 of Article 205.5 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). The prescribed penalty ranges from 15 years in prison to a life sentence.

The other five men are accused of participating in a terrorist organization (Part 2 of the same Article 205.5 of the Criminal Code of Russia) with a possible penalty of 10 to 15 years in prison. All eight are also being accused of preparing a violent coup (Part 1 of Article 30, Article 278 of the Criminal Code of Russia).

All defendants plead not guilty of terrorism and say they are being persecuted on political and religious grounds.

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