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Maria Tomak: 256 participants of peaceful gatherings charged with administrative responsibility in Crimea since annexation

Kyiv, October 20, 2017.

The occupation authorities of Crimea have passed 268 sentences upon the participants of peaceful gatherings; 256 persons have been charged with administrative responsibility. The total amount of fines exceeds 2 million 942 thousand rubles. The largest fine for participating in the peaceful gathering reached 150 thousand rubles. “Since March 2014, there has been no right to a peaceful protest in Crimea,” stressed Maria Tomak, coordinator of the Media Initiative for Human Rights Maria Tomak at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.

The most common reasons for detaining and bringing to administrative and criminal responsibility are clear Ukrainian or Crimean Tatar identification, participation in the actions devoted to the anniversary of the deportation of the Crimean Tatar people, etc. Recently, the incidence of bringing people to responsibility for their religious affiliation has increased. “For example, the evangelists distributed the Easter gifts in one of the villages. All the people who took part in this were brought to justice. They were fined for conducting unauthorized mass actions,” informed Oleksandr Siedov, an analyst at the Crimean Human Rights Group. Many Crimean Tatars were also sentenced to community service. The occupation authorities issued 11 community orders; the number of hours varies from 20 to 40.

Participants of peaceful gatherings are brought not only to administrative responsibility. Since the annexation of Crimea, 12 people have been brought to criminal responsibility. Ukraine has already filed dozens of lawsuits to the European Court of Human Rights to challenge the decisions of the occupation authorities. Unfortunately, the problem of supporting and assisting political prisoners and their families has not yet been solved at the legislative level. “These political prisoners should understand that Ukraine will not leave them and will fight for each of them. We hope that this message will be heard, and the draft law on the support of political prisoners and their families that has been registered today in the Verkhovna Rada will also be finalized and passed. Then political prisoners will see real steps aimed at their support on the part of the Government and Ukraine,” emphasized Daria Svyrydova, lawyer of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union.

Lilia Gamedzhi, a lawyer representing the interests of the persecuted members of peaceful assemblies in the occupied Crimea, informs that they have not won a single case yet. “This has nothing to do with our competence. This testifies that all cases are framed-up and politically motivated,” stressed Gamedzhi. “I want to say that the Crimean Tatar people and Crimean Muslims are extremely tenacious. They remain faithful to their position and will try to prove peacefully that they are not terrorists and that they want to live in Crimea peacefully and in good-neighborly relations with other peoples.”

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