Human Rights Watch points to Russia's growing persecution of Crimean Tatars in occupied Crimea
The Russian authorities in the annexed Crimea stepped up the persecution of the Crimean Tatars with the obvious goal of completely suppressing dissent on the peninsula, the international human rights organization Human Rights Watch said on November 14.
"Russian authorities in Crimea have relentlessly persecuted Crimean Tatars for their vocal opposition to Russia’s occupation since it began in 2014. They have portrayed politically active Crimean Tatars as extremists and terrorists, forced many into exile, and ensured that those who choose to stay never feel safe to speak their mind," Radio Svoboda quotes Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
Human rights defenders, in their material published on the website https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/11/14/crimea-persecution-crimean-tatars-intensifies, point to specific cases of harassment, in particular, detention and fines for single Pickets, which in Russia are formally considered the only way to protest, do not require prior permission from the authorities.
Since 2015, Russian authorities have arrested at least 26 people on charges of involvement with the Islamist movement Hizb ut-Tahrir, banned as a terrorist organization in Russia since 2003 but not proscribed in Ukraine, nor in most of Europe, the Human Rights Watch said.
Human rights defenders said that "as an occupying power, Russia should respect, unless absolutely prevented from doing so, Ukrainian laws that were in force in Crimea when it commenced its occupation." "However, Russia rejects its status as an occupying power and applies its federal laws to Crimea, including criminalizing activity not previously criminalized on the peninsula," the Human Rights Watch said in its statement.