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Interference in professional activities and persecution of independent lawyers in Crimea

On 26 January 2017 in Bakhchysaray, Crimea, Russian security services detained a lawyer, Mr. Emil Kurbedinov. Emil Kurbedinov is among few independent lawyers in Crimea who defend political prisoners.

Mr. Kurbedinov was arrested while driving with his colleague Mr. Edem Semedliaev to participate as lawyers in a search of the house of a Crimean Tatar activist, Mr. Seyran Saliev.

Right now, the judicial proceedings against Emil Kurbedinov are ongoing in Simferopol. He has been accused of an administrative offence under article 20.3 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation, i.e. propaganda or public demonstration of prohibited symbols, for publication of a video from Hizb ut-Tahrir demonstration in Simferopol in 2013.

This incident together with other instances of putting pressure on lawyers, human rights defenders and activists working in Crimea is a part of a systemic policy of Russian authorities to suppress activities of independent human rights defenders in the peninsula and to execute systematic pressure on lawyers fulfilling their professional obligations. Such a practice, coupled with serious human rights violations, results in the absence of any mechanisms for human rights protection in Crimea.

We urge the Russian Federation to stop this illegal practice against lawyers and human rights defenders, and ask foreign governments and international organizations to take all the measures possible to defend lawyers and human rights defenders in Crimea.

Read the full statement here.

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