Russian court sentences 4 defendants in Hizb ut-Tahrir case to 12 and 17 years in prison

The Southern District Military Court of Rostov-on-Don, Russia, has announced the sentence for Rustem Murasov, Dzhebbar Bekirov, Zavur Abdullaiev and Rustem Tairov, the defendants in the case of the "Crimean Muslims case".

Source: Attorney Emil Kurbedinov, quoted by Radio Liberty

Details: All the men were arrested in the case of the "second Sevastopol group of Hizb ut-Tahrir" [Hizb ut-Tahrir is an international pan-Islamist and fundamentalist political organisation whose stated aim is to establish the Islamic caliphate, unite the Muslim community, and implement sharia globally – ed.]. Bekirov was sentenced to 17 years in prison, while the others to 12 years in a high-security penal colony. They will spend the first four years in prison.

Quote by Kurbedinov: "An unjustified, illegal sentence. These people are not criminals, what they did was absolute good, they helped other families, came to the courts, supported them; they had their own position, they practised their religion."

Background: In August 2021, Russian secret service in Crimea conducted five searches in the homes of Crimean Tatars at once, after which they detained activists Rustem Murasov and Rustem Tairov. Dzhebbar Bekirov was arrested in the Balaklava district, activist Zavur Abdullaiev was apprehended in the Bakhchysarai district, and Raume Fevziiev in the Simferopol district.

The Crimean Solidarity NGO, citing lawyer Oleksii Ladin, reported that the detained Crimean Tatars are suspected of "creating and participating in a terrorist organisation".

At the time, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called these searches and detentions of Crimean Tatars by the Russian secret service a "blatant violation of human rights", and the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry handed an official protest to  Russia.

Earlier in May 2023, the Russian Southern District Military Court in Rostov-on-Don sentenced Crimean Tatar activist Ernes Seitosmanov to 18 years in a maximum security prison.

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