Mutual support of Crimean Tatars scares Russian investigators, said lawyer Sabinin about the Emir-Useyin Kuku case.

Дата: 13 December 2016
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Russian investigators and judges solve the cases of Crimean Tatars, including “Hizb ut-Tahrir” case, using political methods. But they are frightened by solidarity of Crimean Tatars.

This was stated today by Andrey Sabinin, a lawyer leading the cases of the Ukrainians in Crimea, to a reporter of Human Rights Information Centre.

“If there are Muslims in Crimea then it is possible that there is Muslim terrorism why not investigate this? Russian investigators know how to do this and they can do this. There are not many Crimean Tatars in Crimea. The so called process of “causcasization” is happening in Crimea. It is a trend from Chechnya and Dagestan, when incredibly violent and often inadequate methods of punishment are used”, informed Andriy Sabinin.

The lawyer also noted the solidarity of Crimean Tatars.

“Tatars visit the courts. Usually there are 30-40 people especially in the hearing of the Chiygoz case. They wait for hours until the end of the proceeding. This mutual support is frightening. There is no such support in Russia and maybe even Ukraine…”, said Sabinin.

The lawyer also made a comment on the case of his defendant Emir-Useyin Kuku. He has been in pre-trial detention for more than 6 months without any progress on the case.

“The case is under investigation, examinations are being carried out. Defendants in “Hizb ut-Tahrir” are in the detention while waiting for expert examination. And while releasing defendants and placing them on house arrest is a common practice  the authorities refused to do so.

In fact, the statement of investigators is duplicated from one document to another stating that as a member of a terrorist organization, the men can allegedly escape. Another reason for denying their release is that they have been called political prisoners, slogan spread with special emphasis.

“Once I could not endure anymore and said: ‘There are two ways to escape Crimea; – to Ukraine or to Russia. And how exactly can Useyin Kuku escape? Swim through Syvash?’”, comments the lawyer. Sabinin states that defendants will not escape because they have families, children.

“Just give them a chance to take care of themselves and live in proper conditions. Unfortunately, people have to wait years in detention until the court makes a decision. They are exposed to terrible acts. For example documents are fabricated to prove that Useyin is a bad father who doesn’t care about his children. He even got calls from social services. While he is in SIZO, in the pre-trial detention! That’s absurd”, said Sabanin.

According to him this kind of pressure on Muslims in Russia started a long time ago. But there is not a single act that could connect “Hizb ut-Tahir” with terrorist activity.

“None of the members of the Crimean chapter ever killed anyone, ever bombed anything up. There is a resolution in Russia which states that Tahrir is an terrorist organization and its members are condemned … up to life in prison,” adds the lawyer.

In his opinion, the trial will not start sooner than spring or summer. In the meantime defendants in Yalta “Hizb ut-Tahrir” case must remain in detention.

“Every member of the chapter was sent to a psychiatric hospital because they refused to undergo psychiatric examinations voluntarily. Umerov was the first one who refused the rest of people involved with the case refused in solidarity.

To be fair, I must admit that nobody will administer “truth serum” in the hospital or inject the defendants with drugs to cause a confession. That’s only an image from “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest …”.

The fact is that the defendants can’t be present at the court hearing and can’t represent their own position. They are also annoyed that psychiatrists question them and try to convince them to confess. Doctors cooperate with the investigators hence it is punitive psychiatry”, says the lawyer. He also added that the defendants can be sentenced from 10 to 20 years of imprisonment according to article 250 of Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.

“They have not committed acts of terrorism but they are accused of membership in a terrorist organization. An organization that has not committed any act of terrorism…” added Sabinin.

As a reminder, participants of Yalta “Hizb ut-Tahir” case remain in prison for more than 6 months. The first four of the defendants were arrested back in February 11, 2016. Emir-Useyin Kuku, member of the Human Rights Contact Centre is the most famous one. Builders Musliv Aliev and Enver Bekirov as well as florist Vadym Siruk were also arrested.

Human rights defenders consider these men political prisoners.

Representatives of the International Islamic political organization “Hizb ut-Tahir” called its mission to unite all Muslim countries into an Islamic caliphate. However they reject all kinds of terroristic methods to achieve their goals and believe their organization to be unfairly subjected to persecution in Russia. Russia’s Supreme Court banned “Hizb ut-Tahir” in 2003 and included it in the list of terrorist organizations. Besides Russia, the organization is banned in countries such as Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, China and other Asian and African countries. In Germany “Hizb ut-Tahir” activities are limited due to accusations of being anti-Semitic. In Ukraine and most Western countries it can operate legally.

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