16:58 13.11.2017

Umerov discusses with Erdogan release of political prisoners in Russia, including Sentsov

Umerov discusses with Erdogan release of political prisoners in Russia, including Sentsov

Deputy Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people Ilmi Umerov has said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a meeting with him and another deputy head of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, Akhtem Chiygoz, who was released by Russia, assured that he would help free Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia, including filmmaker Oleh Sentsov.

"When we met with Erdogan, we talked about the need to continue the work on the release of other political prisoners, more than 50 people are held in Russian prisons in Crimea and in mainland Russia. As a priority we identified Oleh Sentsov... Erdogan promised that he would address this issue," Umerov said at a press conference in Kyiv on Monday.

He also pointed out that at the meeting with Erdogan, the freed deputy chair of Mejlis raised the issue of de-occupation of Crimea.

On September 11, a Russian court in Crimea sentenced Chiygoz to eight years in a high-security prison. On September 27 a Simferopol district court jailed Umerov for two years in a penal colony.

After staying in a Russian prison, on October 25, Chiygoz and Umerov were transferred to Turkey. They are exempt from criminal liability, but they are forbidden to reside in Crimea. Therefore, they will work in Kyiv.

On October 26, Umerov and Chiygoz met with Erdogan at the Ak Saray residence of the Turkish president in Ankara. "Ilmi Umerov and Akhtem Chiygoz, thanking President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his efforts to release them, asked him to help dozens of other Crimean Tatars, Ukrainians and people of other nationalities who were illegally persecuted, arrested and sentenced in Crimea," Chubarov said.

He said that Erdogan, in turn, had asked them to convey to the Ukrainian president's commissioner for Crimean Tatar people, former head of the Mejlis, Mustafa Jemilev, and the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people "the words of support and wishes of success in activities aimed at the benefit of the Crimean Tatar people."

On October 27, Umerov and Chiygoz arrived in Kyiv.

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