Crimea. News. Top-5 (January 25-February 1)

Council of Europe human rights mission arrives in Crimea

– A Council of Europe human rights mission headed by Gerard Stoudman, Special Representative of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe for Human Rights in Crimea, stayed in Crimea from January 25 to January 30. The mission focused on the human rights situation in Crimea, including minority rights, media freedom and prison conditions.

– As part of his visit, Gerard Stoudman met with Akhtem Chiygoz, Deputy Chairman of the Mejlis, who is being held in pre-trial detention on trumped-up charges

– Mr Chiygoz explained to Mr Stoudman why the occupation authorities unleashed a repressive campaign against Crimean Tatars and their leaders. He emphasized that his arrest was primarily aimed at reformatting the Mejlis and Kurultay and installing leaders at their helm loyal to the Russian authorities.

– Mejlis members told Gerard Stoudman about the human rights situation in Crimea, including disappearances of people, maltreatment of Muslims, criminal cases initiated against Crimean Tatars, fines imposed on Crimean Tatars and searches of Crimean Tatars’ homes.

–  Special attention was paid to the problems media outlets, such as ATR, QHA, Avdet and Ky’rym, have been facing in Crimea.

Armed men sealed off a mosque in Simferopol

– Armed men wearing balaclavas sealed off a mosque in Simferopol’s Mokrousov street on January 28, preventing believers from performing religious rituals.

– According to Said Ismagilov, Mufti of the Umma, Ukrainian Muslims’ Spiritual Administration, police searched the mosque and claimed to discover books on Wahhabi Islam banned in Russia. The imams claim there were no books like these in either the mosque or library prior to the search.

– After inspecting the mosque, police found it to be non-compliant with safety regulations.

Crimean Tatar children’s center searched by Russia’s Federal Security Service

– The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB, Education Ministry, Sanitary-Epidemiological Station and police conducted a surprise sweeping inspection of Elif, Crimean Tatar children’s center, on January 27.

– According to Lutfiye Zudiyeva, Elif’s General Director, FSBand police officers were particularly interested in books written in the Crimean Tatar and Turkish languages, even though they were published by respectable publishing houses.

– Authorities also visited houses of two children enrolled at the center and even questioned children.

– After a search of the center, two of its teachers were taken to a police station for questioning, while its director was taken to the prosecutor‘s office.

Property of Ukrainian Orthodox Church seized in Crimea

– The Crimean Arbitration Court ruled to seize 112 square meters of non-residential premises owned by Simferopol’s cathedral of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate.

– This is not the first time property owned by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate has been seized by the occupying authorities.

– Clement, Archbishop of Simferopol and Crimea, earlier reported the number of Ukrainian Orthodox Church parishes falling drastically in Crimea. According to him, a total of 6 parishes were shut down immediately after Russia occupied Crimea. There were originally 15 parishes, of which only 9 have survived to this date. There has been a decrease in the number of priests, as well. Churches have been shut down in Krasnoperekopsk, Kerch, Sevastopol, Perevalnoye and Saky.

Armed men burst into Crimean Tatar home

– Armed policemen raided houses of Crimean Tatars in the village of Kamenskoye of the Leninsky district.

– Police forced their way into the house of Idris Ametov, a local businessman, cuffing all members of his family and conducting a search of the house. As a result of the police’s actions, Ametov’s daughter nearly had a heart attack and was taken to a hospital.

– Armed policemen entered at least two more houses in the village and conducted searches there, too.

– When the villagers started to converge in anticipation of TV journalists’ arrival, police left Kamenka in a hurry.