REUTERS

A court in Russia-annexed Crimea has sentenced a local Crimean Tatar man to eight years in prison after finding him guilty of being a member of an "illegal armed group” that resists Moscow's control of the peninsula.

The Federal Security Service (FSB) said on July 22 that Nariman Mezhmedinov, 55, had joined the Noman Chelebidzhikhan battalion of Crimean Tatar volunteers in 2016, Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported

The battalion operates in Ukraine's southern Kherson region bordering the Crimean peninsula.

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According to the FSB, Mezhmedinov had actively participated for four months during 2016 in the battalion's activities, namely blocking roads near a checkpoint and searching vehicles coming in and out of Crimea in 2016.

Since the Kremlin annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014, Russian authorities have prosecuted dozens of Crimean Tatars and other local residents who openly oppose Moscow's control.

Rights groups and Western governments have denounced Russian actions in Crimea as a campaign of repression and have called for the release of those detained for political reasons.