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Russia
31.05.22
Urgent Interventions

Ukraine/Russia: Administrative harassment of four human rights lawyers in occupied Crimea

RUS 007 / 0522 / OBS 037

Arbitrary detention /
Administrative harassment
Ukraine / Russian Federation
May 31, 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 Russian-occupied Crimea.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed about the administrative harassment of human rights lawyers Messrs. Edem Semedliayev, Nazim Sheikhmambetov, Ayder Azamatov, and Ms. Emine Avamileva, and the arbitrary detention of the latter three. The lawyers are known for representing Crimean Tatar activists and Ukrainian political prisoners in courts and providing legal assistance to Crimean Tatars.

On May 26, 2022, Edem Semedliayev was arbitrarily arrested in Simferopol by officers of the Centre for Combatting Extremism (Center E). He was charged with “public actions aimed at discrediting the use of the Russian Federation’s armed forces, accompanied by calls to carry out unauthorised public events” (Article 20.3.3 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation) allegedly for being tagged in a Facebook post against the Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine published by an unknown person. On the same day, the Kievsky District Court tried Mr. Semedliayev, found him guilty of the above mentioned charge and imposed him a fine of 75,000 Rubles (around 1120 Euros). Edem Semedliayev, who was released after the trial, will appeal the ruling.

Following the court hearing, Mr. Nazim Sheikhmambetov, Edem Semedliayev’s lawyer, was arbitrarily arrested in the courthouse by Center E officers on charges of “organising a mass simultaneous presence of citizens in a public place, which led to a violation of public order” (Article 20.2.2 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation), in relation to a public gathering that took place in October 2021 near the Simferopol police station to support arbitrarily detained Crimean Tatar activists, during which 21 Crimean Tatar activists were arrested.

On May 27, 2022, Nazim Sheikhmambetov’s lawyers, Ayder Azamatov and Emine Avamileva, were arbitrarily arrested while waiting to represent Mr. Sheikhmambetov at the Central District Court of Simferopol. They were both charged under Article 20.2.2 of the Code of Administrative Offenses in relation to the above-mentioned gathering that took place in October 2021.

On May 28, 2022, the Central District Court of Simferopol sentenced Nazim Sheikmambetov, Emine Avamileva and Ayder Azamatov to eight, five and eight days of administrative arrest, respectively. At the time of publication of this Urgent Appeal the three of them were detained in the Temporary Detention Centre of the Simferopol City Police Department.

The Observatory recalls that since the occupation of Crimea by the Russian Federation in 2014, the Crimean Tatars and those who defend their rights have been targeted by the Russian authorities, including through enforced disappearances, torture and ill-treatment, arbitrary detentions, judicial harassment, arbitrary searches and other discriminatory measures. The Observatory further recalls that Edem Semedliayev had already been arbitrarily placed under administrative arrest for 12 days in October 2021 in retaliation for his legitimate human rights activities defending the Crimean Tatars.

The Observatory expresses its utmost concern over the administrative arrests of Nazim Sheikhmambetov, Ayder Azamatov, and Emine Avamileva and urges the Russian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release them and to put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the administrative and judicial levels, against them and all human rights defenders and lawyers 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 Edem Semedliayev, Nazim Sheikhmambetov, Ayder Azamatov, and Emine Avamileva and all other human rights defenders in Crimea;

ii. Immediately and unconditionally release Nazim Sheikhmambetov, Ayder Azamatov, and Emine Avamileva, as well as all arbitrarily detained and arrested human rights defenders in Crimea;

iii. Put an end to all acts of harassment - including at the administrative and judicial levels - against Edem Semedliayev, Nazim Sheikhmambetov, Ayder Azamatov, Emine Avamileva 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, May 31, 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.

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