Open Letter about Crimea

<< No 6 (239) February 2017 >>

♦  Lawyers in Russia express their concern  ♦

Russian lawyers concerned about the current situation of observance of human rights and freedoms in Crimea, in particular the prosecution of their colleague EMIL KURBEDINOV, have published an open letter.

emil-kurbedinov

Emil Kurbedinov

Since 2014 the Russian authorities in Crimea have consistently stifled fundamental human rights and freedoms. The freedoms of assembly, conscience and expression on the peninsula have to all intents and purposes been destroyed. Criminal cases, jailings under administrative law and fines have been handed out right, left and centre to people regardless of their views or sphere of activism — whether journalists, anarchists, Muslims, merely for expressing their point of view, displaying a flag on a car, criticizing the authorities or attempting to hold a peaceful picket or rally. Since 2014 Article 20.3 of the Administrative Code (public display of Nazi symbols or attributes of extremist organizations), under which Kurbedinov was jailed, has been widely used by the Russian authorities for political purposes.

In Crimea there are no human rights organizations or public oversight commissions, and access for independent monitoring missions is limited as much as possible. The judicial system in Crimea has been reduced to that of a formality. Crimean courts do not implement the basic legal norms and ignore the decisions and interpretations made by the higher courts of the Russian Federation.

Lawyers stand as the last obstacle in the path to total lawlessness— those individuals who are ready to actively and openly defend journalists, activists, and ordinary people, who have been groundlessly branded as “terrorists” or “saboteurs”. The lawyer Kurbedinov has defended Nikolai Semena, the Ukrainian journalist, and Akhtem Chiigoz and Ilmi Umerov, leaders of the Crimean Tatars, as well as many others.

There is no doubt that the simultaneous arrest of the lawyer Kurbedinov for posting a video on social networks and the searches of his office and apartment were planned and political in nature, with a view to intimidating him and making it impossible for him to continue working as a lawyer.

In a most bizarre statement, the Bar Association of Crimea described the prosecution of one of its member-lawyers as “lawful”.

We, Russian lawyers, including some of us who who work in Crimea, express our solidarity with our colleague. We appeal to the Federal Bar Association of the Russian Federation to take steps to protect him and not to allow a purely political prosecution to take place.

Aleksandr Popkov, Krasnodar Bar Association
Andrei Sabinin, Stavropol Bar Association
Svetlana Sidorkina, Moscow Bar Association
Sergei Loktev, Lipetsk Bar Association
Irina Khrunova, Tatarstan Bar Association
Ilnur Sharapov, Moscow Bar Association
Raushaniya Kamalova, Tatarstan Bar Association
Aleksei Bushmakov, Sverdlovsk Bar Association
Andrei Lepekhin, Chelyabinsk Bar Association
Dmitry Dinze, Leningrad Region Bar Association
Olga Dinze, Moscow Bar Association
Olga Lepekhina, Chelyabinsk Bar Association
Ramil Ahmetgaliev, Tatarstan Bar Association
Roman Kachanov, Sverdlovsk Bar Association
Dmitry Gerasimov St. Petersburg Bar Association
Marat Sagitov, Moscow Bar Association
Olga Karachova, St. Petersburg Bar Association
Aleksei Ladin, Tyumen Bar Association
Maria Sernovets, The Moscow Bar Association
Elena Denisenko, Krasnodar Bar Association
Vitaly Cherkasov, Leningrad Region Bar Association
Igor Mangilev, St. Petersburg Bar Association
Mikhail Benyash, Krasnodar Bar Association
Oleg Agafonov, Rostov Bar Association
Yulia Kazantseva, Novosibirsk Bar Association
Sergei Legostov, Member of Sevastopol
Marina Dubrovina, Krasnodar Bar Association
Yury Chupilkin, Rostov Bar Association
Elena Makarova, Member of the Sverdlovsk Region
Oksana Zheleznyak, Member of Sevastopol
Akhmed Akhmedov, Dagestan Bar Association
Sapiyat Magomedov, Dagestan Bar Association
Olga Tseitlina, St. Petersburg Bar Association
Ilya Novikov, Moscow Bar Association
Vladimir Zhuravchak, Moscow Bar Association
Aleksei Lazarenko, St. Petersburg Bar Association
Aleksei Tsarev, St. Petersburg Bar Association
Ekaterina Kosygina, Member of the Yaroslavl region
Ludmila Alexandrova, Krasnodar Bar Association

Edem Semedlyaev, Crimea Bar Association
Marina Agaltsova, Moscow Bar Association
Dokka Itslaev, Chechen Bar Association
Konstantin Markin, Novgorod Bar Association

Translated by Graham Jones

HRO.org
(from Mediazona 30 January 2017)

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