The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine strongly protests the Russian Federation North Caucasus District Military Court illegal decision of 16 September 2020, namely, the conviction of Ukraine’s seven citizens – Marlen Asanov, Memet Belyalov, Server Zekiryaev, Timur Ibragimov, Server Mustafayev, Seyran Saliyev and Edem Smailov in the case of the so-called “the 2nd Bakhchisaray group Hizb ut-Tahrir.” The department’s press service declared this.
All these citizens of Ukraine were illegally detained on the territory of the temporarily occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea, charged under Article 205.5 of the Criminal Code “Organization and participation in terrorist activities” and illegally transferred to Russia to Rostov-na-Donu in breach of international law. The pre-trial investigation and trial took place with numerous procedural violations and under complete disregard of the evidence provided by the defence that the accused were not involved in the incriminated acts. The final point of this shameful trial was today’s verdict of imprisonment for M. Belyalov – 18 years, M. Asanov – 19 years, T. Ibragimov – 17 years, S. Saliev – 16 years, S. Mustafayev – 14 years, E. Smailov – 13 years, and S. Zekiryaev – 13 years,” – the statement reports.
As the Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted, the horrific terms of imprisonment for the openly fabricated charge of terrorism indicates that the occupying state actively uses its anti-terrorist legislation to disguise systemic political repressions and religious discrimination against Crimean Tatars and any disloyal civil initiatives in the temporarily occupied Crimea.
“The courage and integrity of our citizens in defending their rightness and innocence during the farcical process deserve particular respect. The Russian Federation must overturn the court’s decision and immediately release Marlen Asanov, Memet Belyalov, Server Zekiryaev, Timur Ibragimov, Server Mustafayev, Seyran Saliev, and Edem Smailov and all Ukrainian citizens illegally detained by it,” the ministry said.
The diplomats called on the international community to react to such a shameful decision of the occupying state, to categorically condemn Russia’s illegal practice of prosecuting dissidence. They also appealed to Russia to stop violating international law, to continue actively defending humanitarian and human rights in the occupied territories and the freedoms of the inhabitants of the Crimean Peninsula using both national and international mechanisms, and to increase pressure on Russia, including sanctions.