The case of Crimean Tatar activist Ilmi Umerov

posted 13 Mar 2017, 02:25 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 13 Mar 2017, 02:26 ]
3 March 2017


The Investigative Committee has completed its investigation of the extremism case brought against Ilmi Umerova, a well- known activist of the Crimean Tatar people’s movement, Radio Svoboda has reported, citing Umerov’s own statement on Facebook.

The investigator provided the materials of the case to Ilmi Umerov and his lawyers with a deadline for them to examine them by 7th March 2017. They ran to three volumes of approximately 250 pages each.

After this date an indictment will be sent to the prosecutor’s office and then the case will go to court.

Umerov’s defence team expects that the trial will begin in a month.

Fifty-nine year old Umerov is accused of "Calling for the breaking up of the territorial integrity of Russia." The basis for his criminal prosecution is what he said on television: "It is necessary to force Russia to withdraw from the Crimea and Donbas". Umerov is currently under travel restrictions.

In response to requests by the infamous Russian Prosecutor of Crimea, Ms Poklonskaya, the Supreme Court of the Crimean Peninsula has adopted a declaration that the Mejlis [Council] of the Crimean Tatar people is an "extremist organization." This stance was not been successfully challenged in the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation.

Human rights activists consider that this decision is unjust and deeply flawed. In particular, during the proceedings, they stressed that “the Mejlis is a body of democratic representation, and not an NGOm and that a legal action cannot be taken to classify such an organisaton as extremist and that its activities could not be considered extremist".

Kirill Koroteev, the senior lawyer for Memorial Human Rights Centre has stressed: "With regard to the consequences of this decision: membership of an extremist organization is a crime under to Russian law. The thirty-three members of the Mejlis are in danger, and local authorities could extend their prosecution to the members of both the regional and local mejlises, in which case the repressions could touch hundreds of lives." 

Translated by Graham Jones