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Activists in Crimea report increasing pressure on Crimean Tatars with the beginning of autumn

In September, Russian security forces in Crimea conducted 5 searches and opened 7 administrative cases against Crimean Tatars; the courts fined them ₽2000 and sentenced them to a total of 27 days of administrative detention. This has been reported by ‘Krym. Realii’ on September 29, citing lawyer Nazim Sheikhmambetov.

The lawyer pointed out that this is a clear sign of the increasing pressure on Crimean Tatars with the aim of thwarting their social activities.

“This is not a personal problem affecting specific individuals. They take one person, but that’s a message for everyone: ‘Don’t go, if it hasn’t affected you personally, stay at home’. The purpose is to put pressure on people so that they start practicing self-censorship, think twice before speaking their mind, including on social media, and think even more before coming to their neighbors during a search,” Sheikhmambetov said.

To illustrate this point, the lawyer recalled the administrative prosecution of the Kulametov family from Stary Krym.

“When they came to search the Kulametovs’ house, they imposed a 2,000 ruble fine. The special operation was carried out with all the ingredients of a Hollywood blockbuster – with spectacular detentions by armed men in masks. It had nothing to do with fighting crime,” Sheikhmambetov said.

At the 39th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Refat Chubarov, the head of the Mejlis of Crimean Tatar people, said that basic freedoms, including freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of association, freedom of religion and freedom of movement, are being violated throughout the Crimean peninsula.

Fiona Fraser, the head of the UN Monitoring Mission – which monitors violations in the field of human rights and international humanitarian law -. has recently stated that the human rights situation in Crimea has not changed over the past 10 months.

International organizations have recognized the occupation and annexation of Crimea as illegal and condemned Russia’s actions. Western countries have imposed a number of economic sanctions. Russia denies the occupation of the peninsula and calls it “the restoration of historical justice.” Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada has announced February 20, 2014, as the official date of the beginning of Russia’s occupation of Crimea and Sevastopol.