Moscow lawyer detained in occupied Crimea for taking picture with Ukraine flag
Moscow lawyer Irina Biryukova and Crimean activists Veldar Shukurdzhiev and Irina Kopylova were detained by local police on August 12 in the Russian-occupied Simferopol and charged with the administrative offense - abuse of the established order of holding public events for snapping pictures with the Ukrainian flag at the Lenin monument.
"I'm on a business trip here in Crimea in connection with a criminal case. I went out in the city with my Ukrainian friends. We were detained as Veldar, who was with me, took a selfie with a flag of Ukraine near the Lenin monument on the largest square,” Irina Biryukova said in an interview with OVD-Info commenting on the circumstances of her detention.
Veldar Shukurdzhiev had been previously subjected to administrative persecution in connection with the pro-Ukrainian rally.
The lawyer said that the activists were under surveillance: they noticed two vehicles following them but managed to get away.
"We were detained near my hotel. As I was getting out of the car to go to my room, there are three police cars surrounded us and told us in a really rude manner to come with them to the police station. They said, "Everybody out of the car and come with us." When I showed my lawyer’s ID, they switched their tone a bit, but still they said very confidently, "We are not sure you’re a lawyer, maybe this ID is fake," said Biryukova.
In the end, it turned out that we were charged with participating in an unsanctioned rally, under part 5 of Article 20.2 of the Code of the Administrative offenses.