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Crimea: At least 20 people detained in a new crackdown against Crimean Tatar minority

    March 27, 2019

    Responding to news that Russian security forces in occupied Crimea have conducted extensive searches and detained ethnic community Crimean Tatars, Oksana Pokalchuk, Amnesty International Ukraine’s Executive Director, said:

    “The crackdown on the Crimean Tatar community, whose members are regarded as disloyal to the de facto Russian authorities, has continued unabated for five years.

    “The Russian authorities will use any means to suppress any dissent, real or perceived, casting their net wide to target the Crimean Tatar community and silence dissenting voices. The latest crackdown is one of the biggest acts of brazen intimidation of the whole community in recent months.”

    According to the de facto Crimean Directorate of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), the law enforcement agents conducted searches and detentions to investigate the activities of Hizb ut-Tahrir, a religious group banned in Russia as “terrorist” but operating lawfully in Ukraine.

    Background

    Russian security forces in occupied Crimea have conducted at least 25 searches in the homes of ethnic community Crimean Tatars and detained at least 20 people.

    The searches were held in the Crimean capital Simferopol, the nearby village of Strohonivka and the village of Volodymyrivka in the Bilohirsk district of Crimea.

    In Simferopol’s district of Kamyanka, officers of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs cordoned off the neighborhood and called on residents who assembled during the operation to disperse. According to media reports, the searches were conducted with multiple procedural violations. Residents were not allowed to enter their homes and their lawyers were not permitted to be present during searches.

    For further information please contact:

    Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations

    416-363-9933 ext 332 bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca