13:34 31.03.2017

Crimean Tatars Mejlis file complaint with ECHR due to prohibition of its activities by Russia

Crimean Tatars Mejlis file complaint with ECHR due to prohibition of its activities by Russia

The Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people on March 29 filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) because the Russian authorities included it in the list of extremist organizations and banned its activities, Human Rights Center Memorial has said.

According to a message, human rights defenders documented 18 enforced disappearances of Crimean Tatars, which have not been investigated yet. The bodies of several activists were found with traces of beatings and torture.

Mustafa Jemilev, the former chairman of the Mejlis, and Refat Chubarov, the current head of the Mejlis, are prohibited from entering the Crimean peninsula. Criminal cases were brought against them in Russia. Several members of the organization were threatened and oppressed. The Russian authorities persecute them. Ten of them were accused of committing administrative violations and criminal offenses, one was imprisoned. Authorities illegally search mosques, Islamic schools and private houses of Crimean Tatars.

Among other violations and harassment - several Crimean Tatar media are banned, others are persecuted. The ATR channel is the only channel broadcasting in the Crimean Tatar language, was forced to cease its activities, as the Russian authorities refused to grant them a license.

"The Mejlis indicated in its complaint to the ECHR that including it on the list of extremist organizations and ceasing its activities violate Article 11 (freedom of assembly and association) of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Besides, the organization was banned and its members are being persecuted in connection with their political position, which is a violation of Article 18 (the limits of the use of restrictions on rights.) The Mejlis also complained that the Russian courts do not recognize its status as a representative body of the indigenous Crimean people, thus violating Article 14 (the prohibition of discrimination). Members of the Mejlis also claim that they were deprived of the right to a fair trial (Article 6) and that they could not assume that their activities would violate anti-extremist legislation (Article 7 - punishment solely based on the law)," a message of the human rights center Memorial says.

Legal director Kiril Koroteyev, lawyers Marina Agaltsova and Tatyana Glushkova, the European Human Rights Advocacy Center (EHRAC, London) and the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union represent this center in the ECHR on the Mejlis request.

The ECHR has about 3,000 individual complaints related to the events in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.

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