Comment of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine on conviction of four Ukrainian citizens
16 August 2021 20:57

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine strongly protests against the illegal decision of the Southern District Military Court of the Russian Federation of August 16, 2021 to convict four citizens of Ukraine Ruslan Nagaev, Lenur Khalilov, Ruslan Mesutov and Eldar Kantimirov in the so-called "Hizb ut-Tahrir Alushta group" case.

All aforementioned citizens of Ukraine were illegally detained on June 10, 2019 by the FSB on the territory of the temporarily occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea, and charged under Part 1 of Article 205.5 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation ("Organization of a terrorist organization") and Part 1 of Article 30 and Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation ("Preparation for the forcible seizure of power by an organized group in collusion"). Subsequently, in violation of international law, they were illegally transferred to Rostov-on-Don – the territory of the Russian Federation. The pre-trial investigation and trial, traditionally, took place with numerous procedural violations and in conditions of complete disregard of the evidence about the complete non-involvement of the mentioned citizens of Ukraine in the incriminated acts, provided by the defense.

Today's sentences of R. Nagaev to 13 years, L. Khalilov - to 18 years, R. Mesutov - to 18 years, E. Kantimirov - to 12 years in prison is yet another proof of Russia’s systemic political repressions against the Crimean Tatars in order to intimidate and suppress any disloyal civil movements and initiatives on the temporarily occupied Crimean peninsula.

The Russian Federation must revoke the court's decision and immediately release Ruslan Nagaev, Lenur Khalilov, Ruslan Mesutov, Eldar Kantimirov and all illegally detained Ukrainian citizens.

We call on the international community to respond to such a shameful decision of the occupying state, to categorically condemn Russia's illegal practice of prosecuting dissent and abusing anti-terrorist legislation, to demand the Russian Federation to stop violating human rights and international humanitarian law on Ukraine's territories temporarily occupied, to continue actively protecting the rights and freedoms of the population of the Crimean peninsula, in particular, within the framework of the new international format initiated by Ukraine – the Crimea Platform, and to increase the pressure on the Russian Federation, including by means of sanctions.

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