Alert: Urgent call to lift Covid-19 related restrictions in places of detention
Russia
22.03.22
Urgent Interventions

Ukraine/Russia: Administrative arrest of Crimean Tatar rights defender Abdureshit Dzhepparov

URGENT APPEAL - THE OBSERVATORY

RUS 005 / 0322 / OBS 020
Arbitrary arrest /
Administrative harassment /
Searches
Ukraine / Russian Federation
March 22, 2022

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Crimea, Ukrainian region being occupied by the Russian Federation.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed about the administrative arrest of Mr. Abdureshit Dzhepparov, an indigenous and minority Crimean Tatar rights defender and coordinator of the Crimean Contact Group on Human Rights, a non-governmental organisation that monitors human rights violations, provides legal support and investigates enforced disappearances in occupied Crimea.

On March 16, 2022, at 7 am, members of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) conducted a three-hour search in the apartment of Abdureshit Dzhepparov in the Sary-Su village of Bilogorsk District, in the Russian-occupied Crimea. During the search, a hard drive was seized. Abdureshit Dzhepparov was subsequently arrested and taken to the Bilohorsk police station. Mr. Dzhepparov’s lawyer was not allowed to be present neither during the search nor in the police station. Moreover, two Abdureshit Dzhepparov’s nephews, Muhamed-Ali Dzhepparov and Fevzi Yakubov, were arbitrarily arrested after they came to his uncle’s apartment during the search to support him[1].

On the same day as the search, Abdureshit Dzhepparov appeared before the Belogorsk District Court and was charged under Article 20.3 of the Code of Administrative Offences of the Russian Federation (“propaganda and public display of Nazi paraphernalia and symbols”) and sentenced to 15 days of administrative detention. Abdureshit Dzhepparov’s lawyer was given access to the courthouse. The charges are related to Mr. Dzhepparov’s publication of a five-minute video on his social media channels on August 19, 2019 stating that the Soviet military march known as “Aviators March” was copied from the Nazi Germany military march. At the time of publication of this Urgent Appeal, Mr. Dzhepparov was detained in the Evpatoria Temporary Detention Centre. He will appeal the sentence.

The Observatory recalls that since the occupation of Crimea by the Russian Federation in 2014, Crimean Tatars and those who defend their rights have been particularly targeted by the Russian authorities, including through enforced disappearances, torture and ill-treatment, arbitrary and administrative detentions, judicial harassment and arbitrary searches[2], such as the arbitrary detentions of Edem Semedlyaev and Nariman Dzhelyal. In this framework, since 2014, Abdureshit Dzhepparov and his family have faced multiple acts of harassment, threats and attacks from the Russian authorities, including the abduction of his son Islyam Dzhepparov and nephew Dzhevdet Islyamov on September 27, 2014. Their fate and whereabouts remain unknown since then, and the Russian occupying authorities in Crimea have not launched any investigation into their disappearance.

The Observatory expresses its utmost concern over the administrative detention of Abdureshit Dzhepparov and urges the Russian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release him, to drop all charges against him and to put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the administrative and judicial levels, against him and all human rights defenders and organisations in Crimea.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Russia, urging them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Abdureshit Dzhepparov, his family and all other human rights defenders in Crimea;

ii. Immediately and unconditionally release Abdureshit Dzhepparov as his detention is arbitrary and merely aimed at intimidating him and diverting him from his legitimate human rights activities;

iii. Guarantee Abdureshit Dzhepparov’s unhindered access to his family members and to a lawyer of his own or his family’s choosing;

iv. Put an end to all acts of harassment - including at the judicial level - against Abdureshit Dzhepparov, his family and all other human rights defenders in Crimea, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities and exercise their rights without any hindrance or fear of reprisals.

Addresses:

  • Mr. Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, Twitter: @KremlinRussia_E
  • Mr. Mikhail Mishustin, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Twitter:@GovernmentRF
  • Mr. Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, E-mail: ministry@mid.ru
  • Mr. Igor Krasnov, General Prosecutor of the Russian Federation, pressa@genproc.gov.ru
  • Mr. Alexander Bortnikov, Director of Federal Security Service (FSS), fsb@fsb.ru
  • Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. E-mail: mission.russian@vtxnet.ch
  • Embassy of the Russian Federation in Brussels, Belgium. E-mail: mission.russian@vtxnet.ch
  • Permanent Representation of the Russian Federation to the Council of Europe, France. Email: russia.coe@orange.fr

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of the Russian Federation in your respective countries.

***
Paris-Geneva, March 22, 2022

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

[1] According to their lawyers, Fevzi Yakubov was sentenced to 10 days of administrative detention. The grounds and the charges were unknown at the time of publication of this Urgent Appeal. Moreover, Muhamed-Ali Dzhepparov is suspected under Article 318 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“use of violence against a representative of the authority”). He was released and ordered to appear to the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation in the following weeks on an unknown date.

[2] See Report of the United Nations Secretary General on the Situation of human rights in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, Ukraine, published on August 2, 2021.

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