Crimean Tatars protest with a Crimean Tatar flag. Photo: qha.com.ua
On March 3, 2016, the Supreme Court of the self-proclaimed Crimean Republic is considering banning the Mejlis, the highest representative body of the Crimean Tatar community, accused of “extremist activities,” Krymr.org reports.
The hearings were initiated by the Russian “prosecutor” of Crimea Natalia Poklonskaya. The head of the central election commission of Kurultai of Crimean Tatars Zair Smedlyaiev reported, the block around the court has been cordoned by police.
Poklonskaya appealed to the court demanding to ban the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatars and convict it as an extremist organization.
Representatives of the Crimean Tatars’ body stated that the submitted appeal contains many legal flaws. They consider this appeal to be politically motivated and are prepared for the ban.
International human rights organizations Worldwide Movement for Human Rights – FIDH and Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union (UHHRU) denounced the prosecution of the Mejlis viewing it as a sanction for its defiance of the annexation of Crimea.
“FIDH and UHHRU alert that qualifying the representative body of the Tatar community as extremist and banning its activities would not only ban the Mejlis. It would strip the whole community of Crimean Tatars of the possibility to be politically, socially, economically and culturally represented through its only representative body.
The decision to qualify the Mejlis an extremist organisation might also entail criminal prosecution not only of Crimean Tatars who are involved in its work but also of all Mejlis supporters in general,” the joint statement says.
Karim Lahidji, FIDH President has warned that this may lead to “massive wave of prosecution of Crimean Tatars for whom the Mejlis is a symbol of struggle against century-long repressions.”