Appeal to the international community regarding the unlawful arrest of Server Mustafayev and Edem Smayilov

The appeal is addressed to international organizations and governments of Ukraine, European Union member states, Switzerland, Norway, United States, Canada, Australia and Japan

On May 21, 2018 Crimean Tatar activists Edem Smayilov and Server Mustafayev were arrested after searches in their homes in Russia-occupied Crimea.

On May 22 Russia-controlled “Kyiv District Court” in Simferopol ordered a 20 day arrest for them – until June 9, 2018. Edem Smayilov and Server Mustafayev have been charged with being members of an organization Russia considers a terrorist group, in accordance with part 2 of Article 205.5 of Russia’s Criminal Code, the case was merged with that of the second “Bakhchisaray group” Hizb ut-Tahrir.

We appeal to international organizations and governments of democratic countries with a request:

  1. To demand from the Russian Federation to release Server Mustafayev and Edem Smayilov as well as immediately stop the persecution of Ukrainian activists and human rights defenders in the occupied Crimea and cease all oppressive attempts against the Crimean Solidarity initiative.
  2. To condemn the use of Russia’s own anti-terrorist and anti-extremist legislation by the Russian Federation for persecuting activists and human rights activists in the occupied Crimea.
  3. To impose personal sanctions on persons involved in the persecution of Server Mustafayev and Edem Smayilov as well as other political prisoners of the Kremlin.
  4. To enhance sector-wide sanctions against the Russian Federation for systematic gross violations of human rights and war crimes in the occupied Crimea.

We call on the Ukrainian Government:

  1. To perform a thorough investigation of the persecution of Ukrainian citizens Servers Mustafayev and Edem Smayilov and bring those responsible for gross human rights violations and war crimes in Crimea to justice.
  2. To provide systematic and comprehensive support to Server Mustafayev, Edem Smayilov, their families and all political prisoners unlawfully deprived of liberty by the Russian Federation and Crimean occupation authorities, including by addressing these issues at the legislative level with proper regard for human rights standards and international humanitarian law .

We are convinced that these incidents have a political agenda. The reason for the persecution of Ukrainian citizens Edem Smayilov and Server Mustafayev is their active civic stance and attempts of Russia-controlled Crimean authorities to suppress all resistance on the peninsula. Server Mustafayev is a well-known human rights defender and one of the coordinators of the Crimean Solidarity public initiative, created to protect victims of human rights violations on the peninsula. Server Mustafayev formed and coordinated the work of a team of local activists that record on video unlawful searches of the homes of Crimean Tatars and court proceedings on political cases; he maintained contact between the media and local activists and provided information about current events in Crimea. Edem Smayilov actively expressed his solidarity with the families of the unlawfully detained, often attending court hearings and searches.

In light of the repeated attempts to exert pressure on members of the Crimean Solidarity and Server Mustafayev’s important role in this initiative, we consider his arrest an attempt to create further obstacles for the activities of the Crimean Solidarity.

We strongly condemn the persecution of activists in the occupied Crimea and demand that Russian authorities immediately stop human rights violations and release unlawfully detained citizens of Ukraine.

The Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already published a protest against the unlawful arrest of Server Mustafayev and Edem Smayilov, yet to ensure effective protection of Ukrainian citizens, it is necessary not only to increase pressure on the Russian Federation at the bilateral and international level, but also to immediately pass the law on the status of protected persons and provide systemic state support to Kremlin’s political prisoners and their families.

Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union

Media Initiative for Human Rights

Human Rights Information Center

Crimean Human Rights Group

People in Need

NGO Crimean Human Rights Movement

NGO Crimea SOS

Regional Center for Human Rights

Public movement Crimean Solidarity



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Friedhelm Kuhl, 30 April 2020, 0:23

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