Crimean court sentences Mejlis Deputy Head Umerov to two years in low-security colony
The Simferopol District Court on Wednesday sentenced Deputy Head of Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people Ilmi Umerov to two years in a low-security colony.
The court started reading the verdict in the absence of Umerov's defense lawyers Mark Feygin and Alexander Podrabinek, the Krym.Realii news website reported on Wednesday,
According to interfax.ru, the defense team of Umerov intends to appeal against the verdict. The prosecutor during the debate a week ago asked for a 3.5 years suspended sentence for Umerov.
For the time being, the 60-year-old handicapped politician will stay at home. If the appellate court upholds the verdict, Umerov will be sent to the low-security colony.
Some 50 supporters of the Mejlis deputy head gathered outside the court. Some shouted words of support, some women cried.
Umerov's four lawyers insisted on their client's innocence. Umerov said he was framed up and the case was politically motivated, saying that the translation of his address delivered in the Crimean Tatar language into Russian, which was the basis for the charges, was loose and some calls were added to the text.
As reported, investigators of the Russian FSB in Crimea in May 2016 opened a criminal case against Umerov under Article 280.1 of the Russian Criminal Code on suspicion of incitement to violation of territorial integrity of the Russian Federation.
FSB officers imposed travel restrictions on Umerov. On August 11, a court in Simferopol granted the petition of the FSB investigator on Umerov's forced forensic psychiatric examination. On September 7, Umerov was released from a mental hospital.
Human Rights Watch urged Russian authorities to lift separatism charges from Umerov.
On August 22, 2017, Head of the Supervision Department over Criminal Investigations of the Prosecutor's Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea Oleksandr Darakchi said that the Prosecutor's Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea prepared a suspicion against the prosecutor in the Umerov case. He said, a number of witnesses have already been questioned and suspicions will be soon issued not only to the prosecutor, but also to the judges who participated in Umerov's illegal trial.