15:51 26.04.2017

Kyiv demands Russia release Crimean Tatar Zeytullayev

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has condemned the illegal verdict of a Russian court for Crimean Tatar Ruslan Zeytullayev.

"The Foreign Ministry of Ukraine resolutely condemns the unlawful and inhumane decision of the North Caucasus District Military Court in Rostov-on-Don, by which Ruslan Zeytullayev, a citizen of Ukraine illegally detained on the territory of the Russian Federation, will be imprisoned for 12 years. Regretfully, this ruling has become yet another proof of the political bias of the Russian judicial system," the Foreign Ministry said in a comment.

The Foreign Ministry believes that Zeytullayev's case confirms that Russia does not intend to stop its persecution of representatives of the Crimean Tatar people, despite the relevant conclusion of the International Court of Justice.

"The Foreign Ministry of Ukraine demands Russia should stop the illegal actions against citizens of Ukraine, restore respect for international law and the decision of the International Court of Justice and immediately release Ruslan Zeytullayev for his unhindered return to Ukraine," the statement said.

In addition, the Foreign Ministry calls on the international community to take measures to step up political and diplomatic pressure on Moscow to free Zeytullayev and other Ukrainian citizens who are illegally detained in Russia; jointly speak for protecting life, security and human rights of Ukrainian citizens who have become hostages to Russia's aggressive policy against Ukraine.

As reported, on September 7, 2016, the North Caucasus District Military Court in Rostov-on-Don sentenced Ruslan Zeytullayev to seven years' imprisonment for participation in a unit of the Hizb ut-Tahrir organization banned in Russia.

Investigators claim Zeytullayev organized a regional undercover unit of Hizb ut-Tahrir in Sevastopol, and the rest of the defendants were recruiters into the organization declared terrorist in the territory of Russia.

A repeated consideration of Zeytullayev's case started in early March 2017.

On April 4, Zeytullayev announced an indefinite hunger strike. He said that in this way he is seeking to restore justice for his fellow convicted Crimean Tatars and himself.

On April 26, the North Caucasus District Military Court in Rostov-on-Don sentenced Zeytullayev to twelve years in penal colony.

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