TOP 5 news on Crimea over April 11, 2016 – April 17, 2016


1. April 13, 2016

Crimea’s fate will be decided solely by the Crimean Tatars

– The Executive Board of the World Congress of Crimean Tatars, which met in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, on 11-13 April 2016, for its 4th meeting, released a declaration.

– It was decided at a conference called ‘Massive human rights abuses in occupied Crimea’ that Crimea’s fate will be decided solely by the Crimean Tatars. Any decision made against the will of the Crimean Tatars shall be deemed unjust.

– The Congress’s participants assured the international community of their readiness for dialogue at the international level and called on the nations of the world to do more for de-occupation of Crimea.

– The World Congress of Crimean Tatars adopted the following list of demands:

  1. The European Union, the European Parliament, as well as all national parliaments of the world, respecting human rights, freedoms, peace and democracy, should recognize: 1) the Crimean Tatars as an indigenous people of Crimea 2) the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People as a self-governing body of the Crimean Tatar People.
  2. The European Parliament, as well as all national parliaments and institutions, should recognize the May 18, 1944 deportation of the Crimean Tatar people as an act of genocide.
  3. Provisions in the Constitution of Ukraine with regard to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea should be drawn up to acknowledge the will and rights of the Crimean Tatar People, the autonomy of the Crimean Tatars based on geographical, administrative and national state in Crimea.
  4. The Ukrainian government should enact laws necessary to recognize the National Qurultai of the Crimean Tatar People and the National Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People elected by the former as a self-governing body of the Crimean Tatars.

– The World Congress of the Crimean Tatar people (WCCT) is an organization bringing together Crimean Tatars living in their historic homeland of Crimea, as well as in Turkey, Romania, Poland, USA, Canada, Lithuania, Western Europe and Central Asia.

– Held in Simferopol /Aqmescit on May 9, 2009, the first meeting of the World Congress of the Crimean Tatars was attended by 420 delegates from 13 countries. At that meeting, Refat Chubarov was elected the organization’s Chairman.

2. April 14, 2016

Members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation urge nations of the worlds not to forget about Crimea

– Held in Turkey’s Istanbul on April 14, 2016, the 13th Summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, called ‘Unity and Solidarity for Justice and Peace’, was attended by representatives of 56 member countries, including a Ukrainian delegation comprised of Mustafa Jemilev, Advisor to Ukrainian President on Crimean Tatar Affairs, Refat Chubarov, Mejlis Chairman, and Rustem Umerov, a Qurultai delegate.

– Russia, whose delegation also attended the summit, was present in an observer capacity.

– Members of the summit paid special attention to the plight of the Crimean Tatars living in Crimea. Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan urged OIC members to support Ukraine and Crimean Tatars living in Russian-occupied Crimea.

– In his turn, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu urged representatives of the Islamic world to take a unified stance against Russia’s occupation of Crimea, as well condemn certain countries’ policy of redrawing borders.

– At a meeting with Mustafa Jemilev, Advisor to Ukrainian President on Crimean Tatar Affairs, and Refat Chubarov, Mejlis Chairman, Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan reiterated Turkey’s commitment to provide all-round support to the Crimean Tatar people.

3. April 15, 2016

Hearing in a lawsuit seeking to ban the Mejlis rescheduled again

– Mejlis lawyers filed a motion seeking to summon to court as witnesses Remzi Ilyasov, Zaur Smirnov, Eskender Belyalov, Sadykh Tabakh, Mufti Emirali Ablayev, as well as Zair Smedlyayev and Ilmi Umerov. However, the judges overruled the motion saying that most of the above individuals would provide no more information than is already available in the motion.

– A hearing in a lawsuit seeking to ban the Mejlis of Crimean Tatars was rescheduled for April 25.

– The judges cited the failure of Nariman Jelyal, Mejlis Deputy Chairman and the main defendant, to show up for the hearing as a reason for its rescheduling.

– On April 13, 2016, Natalya Poklonskaya, the so-called Crimea’s Prosecutor General, issued an order whereby the Mejlis’s activities in Crimea were suspended. Poklonskaya cited Articles 9 and 10 of Russia’s Federal Law ‘On countering extremist activities’ as a legal reason for the order. The order was forwarded to Russia’s Justice Ministry so the Mejlis was put on the list of public and religious entities whose activities are suspended in Russia and Crimea.

– The decision will be valid until ‘Crimea’s Supreme Court’ has delivered a verdict in a lawsuit seeking to ban the Mejlis filed by Poklonskaya.

4. April 15, 2016

Hearings in cases of Mejlis members held in Russia and Crimea

– On April 14, Moscow’s Meshchansky Court held a hearing in a complaint filed by Mustafa Jemilev, National Leader of the Crimean Tatars, against Russia’s Federal Security Service’s decision to ban him from entering occupied Crimea.

Under the pretext of constituting a state secret, Mustafa Jemilev case was forwarded to Moscow’s State Court.

– In 2014, Russian border guards, without showing any official documents, stopped Mustafa Jemilev from entering Crimea, citing an order banning him from entering the Russian Federation until 2019. Later on, Simferopol’s Kiev District Court issued an arrest warrant authorizing Jemilev’s arrest in absentia. Criminal proceedings were initiated against Mustafa Jemilev on three articles of Russia’s Criminal Code.

– Additionally, Crimea’s Prosecutor’s Office launched a preliminary investigation into the setting up of the Asker battalion, which will be based in Ukraine’s Kherson region. At the same time, Crimea’s Prosecutor’s Office is going to take a separate procedural decision against Mustafa Dzhemilev for his involvement in the setting up of the Asker battalion.

–  On April 15, an investigator with the Main Investigative Department of Russia’s Investigation Committee issued an indictment order against Akhtem Chiygoza as per Article 212 of Russia’s Criminal Code (organizing mass riots, including violent behavior and property damage).

– Akhtem Chiygoz refused to testify as a defendant, because he provided all the necessary information in the course of the preliminary investigation and had nothing more to add to it.

– Next week, the investigators will file a motion to the court seeking to extend Akhtem Chiygoz’s detention term.

– Of the six  men tried in the so-called February 26 case, three – Ahtem Chiygoz, Mustafa Degermendzhi and Ali Asanov – are being held in a jail in Simferopol, while the other three – Eskender Cantemirov, Arsen Yunusov and Eskender Emirvaliyev – were released on bail and are now awaiting their sentences at home. All of them were charged with involvement in mass riots which took place during a February26, 2014 rally outside the Crimean Parliament.

5. April 16, 2016

Crimean Tatars’ homes in Crimea raided again

– Under the pretext of conducting a census, police searched homes of Crimean Tatars living in the village of Arpat (Zelenogorye) in the Alushta region.

– Police officers asked the Crimean Tatars how many people live in their houses, where they do their shopping, where their children study and whether there are any drug dealers in the village. They also searched their vegetable gardens and greenhouses.

– In the village of Kapsihore (Morskoye) of the Sudak district, police detained several Crimean Tatars for having no Russian passports on them. The detained were taken to the police station, where they had their fingerprints taken. It was not until after their relatives brought documents proving their identity that the men were released.