23 October 2016

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Russia's Supreme Court begins consideration of claim on Mejlis ban in occupied Crimea

Russia's Supreme Court has begun the consideration of the complaint on the prohibition of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people in the temporarily occupied territory of Crimea.

Photo from UNIAN
Photo from UNIAN

Representatives of the Embassy of Ukraine in Russia, an official from the European Commission delegation in the Russian Federation and EU diplomats came at the court hearing, according to an UNIAN correspondent in the Russian Federation.

Security measures were enhanced at the courthouse – two buses of the Moscow's OMON security forces are seen nearby.

The lawyers of the Memorial Human Rights Center represent the interests of the Mejlis in court.

Defense counsel Kirill Koroteev told an UNIAN correspondent before the meeting that there was no reason to believe that a court verdict would be in favor of the Mejlis.

"The practice of the Supreme Court is that it has never repealed the decision on recognition of an organization extremist, and there is no hope that it will happen this time," Koroteev said.

He believes that the judges of the Supreme Court will more likely be guided by a bureaucratic accountability to combat extremism than the promotion and protection of the rights of Crimean Tatars.

In addition, the human rights activist believes that a new wave of repression against the Crimean Tatars will begin in occupied Crimea after today's decision of the Supreme Court.

"This means that any member of the Mejlis may be prosecuted. Membership in an extremist organization is already a crime under Russian law, even if you do nothing," he said.

"I suspect that the security agencies will not only consider 33 people, members of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, as members of an extremist organization, but also the members of all local mejlises, although there is no formal connection [between these organizations]. After the decision of the Supreme Court, it will be very easy for investigators and prosecutors to report on their "fight against extremism." The very fact of membership in the organization is a crime, therefore, they do not need to make any effort to prove this in court," Koroteev said.

Russian FSB’s plan to neutralize Mejlis drafted in 2015 - mediaAccording to him, the Russian investigators will have no problem "investigating" cases on extremism while monitoring social networks than searching for actual criminals.

Koroteev also said that after the completion of all formalities in the Russian Federation, the case will be forwarded to the European Court of Human Rights.

Crimean de facto Supreme Court bans MejlisAs UNIAN reported earlier, on April 26, the "Supreme Court" of the Russian-annexed territory of Crimea recognized the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people an extremist organization and banned its activities.

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