Over the past eight years, Ukraine has been facing particularly cynical disregard for human rights in the occupied territories. Since the occupation of the Ukrainian peninsula by the Russian Federation, human rights violations have become part of a new reality and reached systemic and mass proportions. A corresponding statement was made by Ihor Ponochovny, Head of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and City of Sevastopol.

“The Russian Federation continues to neglect human rights, persecute people who express a pro-Ukrainian position, profess a different religion, and do not support the occupation. In 2021, the number of illegal arrests of citizens on the peninsula on trumped-up grounds more than doubled, from 68 in 2020 to 147 arrests this year. Numerous illegal violations of the inviolability of the home during searches of Ukrainian citizens in Crimea have been recorded. For example, this year the occupying ‘law enforcement officers’ unjustifiably broke into 46 homes,” said Ponochovny.

In particular, over the past few months, the eighth case of unjustified mass detentions of Crimean Tatars has been documented, during which 19 to 41 people were detained simultaneously. Initially, the “security officers” banned citizens from attending court hearings in the so-called Hizb ut-Tahrir cases, and now they ban people from even approaching the court premises. In addition, constant pressure on lawyers representing illegally detained persons is exerted.

“All these cases are parts of the policy of the occupying power aimed at persecuting and intimidating the citizens of Ukraine in Crimea. Its ultimate goal is to change the demographic composition of the peninsula’s population, to oust those who disagree with the occupation regime from the peninsula and settle Russian citizens in their place,” the head of the prosecutor’s office said.

Natalia Tolub

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