Occupation Court in Crimea Sentences Former Political Prisoner Bekirov to Seven Years in Prison in Absentia

Edem Bekirov

Ukrainian activist and former political prisoner Edem Bekirov was sentenced in absentia by the occupation court of Simferopol to seven years in a penal colony and a fine of RUB 150,000.

He was convicted on trumped-up charges of “storing and transporting explosives.”

“I consider the trial of Edem Bekirov, a person with first-degree disability who has chronic diseases, including diabetes and spinal neurology, to be continuation of the political persecution of Ukrainian citizens by the occupying power,” Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights Liudmyla Denisova posted on Facebook.

She stressed that she condemned the illegal actions by the Russian authorities and called on the international community to continue to put pressure on Russia to end the political persecution of Ukrainian citizens and to release all those illegally imprisoned in Russia and the temporarily occupied Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Currently, Bekirov lives in the government-controlled part of Ukraine as he had been released as part of a prisoner exchange in September 2019.

The activist believes that the judgment delivered by a so-called court in the occupied Crimea in absentia aims to intimidate people.

“Yesterday the prosecutor asked for four years. Today it is already seven years – one night brought another three years. If people are sentenced in absentia to such long terms, what can be said about those people who stay there now? These are 105 people who have been convicted illegally. Therefore, no one in the world wants to communicate with this country or have any business. I think such prison terms are given to intimidate people, to tell them: ‘Be quiet. If you budge, we can sentence you even in absentia,'” said Bekirov.

As the former Kremlin’s prisoner noted, he and his lawyers will file an appeal but the main thing is that he is free.

Bohdan Marusyak

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