An MEP group sent letters of solidarity to Ukrainian political prisoners in the Russian Federation from the occupied Crimea. They addressed the messages to Remza Bekirov, Osman Arifmemetov, Yevhen Karakashev and Serhiy Filatov. The Crimean human rights protection group reports this on Facebook.

“We, the European Parliament members, closely monitor the human rights violations that take place in Crimea. It is painful to watch how the impunity of law enforcement officials for their abductions, arrests, and attacks on activists has created a total fear atmosphere,” the letter reads.

MEPs write that they were impressed by the stories of Osman Arifmemetov and Ramzi Bekirov, civilian journalists who “fearlessly covered the persecution of Crimean Muslims, including searches, arrests, and trials until they became victims of the persecution.”

The authors of the letters also report that they were shocked by the case of Evpatoria anarchist Yevhen Karakashev, who was “demonstratively convicted for one video, viewed only once.”

European politicians have also expressed concern about the story of Dzhankoy resident Serhiy Filatov, a Jehovah’s Witness religious community member, who “will have to spend six years in a penal colony for organising religious meetings.”

MEPs plan to spread information about these persecutions.

“We aim at that as many Europeans as possible from Prague, Brussels, Strasbourg, Geneva and many other European cities realize the Crimea occupation and human rights violations’ problem to be a real human destiny.  And we’d like that hundreds of different people, from ordinary office workers to ministers, were able to express their solidarity and concern for the Crimean political prisoners’ fate,” the authors of the letters said.

The letter of Ukrainian political prisoners’ support was initiated by MEPs Marketa Gregorova and Ondrej Kovarik from the Czech Republic; Andrius Kubilius from Lithuania; and Reinhard Butikofer and Viola von Cramon-Taubadel from Germany. Twenty-two other MEPs supported them.

To recap, Ukrainian human rights organisations and the Russian Memorial admitted all four Crimeans as political prisoners. According to Ukrainian human rights activists, at least 102 Ukrainians are currently being held in Russia and the occupied Crimea for politically motivated persecution.

The traditional winter marathon of writing letters for Ukrainians illegally imprisoned in Russia was initiated by the Center for Civil Liberties and Euromaidan Press.

Bohdan Marusyak

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