The sentence of 64-year-old Zekirya Muratov will be handed down on February 11 in the Rostov court

Анастасія Діденко
10:22, 11 February
The sentence of 64-year-old Zekirya Muratov will be handed down on February 11 in the Rostov court
Image source: Кримська солідарність

The Southern District Military Court has debated the case of an elderly Crimean Tatar activist, Zekirya Muratov, who is accused of terrorism.

Crimean Solidarity reported about it.

“The decision taken by the Supreme Court in 2003 was made not for the sake of fighting evil - terrorism, but an indicator of Islamophobia, which allows law enforcement agencies to persecute citizens who are not involved in terrorism and who are not dangerous to society. Crimean Tatars are not traitors or terrorists. Freedom for political prisoners!”, - Muratov said in court.

At the stage of the debate, the state prosecutor Sergey Aidinov asked the court to find Zekirya Muratov guilty under Part 2 of Article 205 of the Criminal Code (“participation in a terrorist organization)” and sentence him to twelve years in prison with further restriction of freedom of movement for one year and six months. According to the prosecutor, Muratov should spend the first three years in prison and the rest in a maximum-security colony.

“The key factor in all detentions of Crimean Tatars is the order of such a sentence, without considering other factors related to the person. It is advantageous for Russia to use the Hizb ut-Tahrir case as an opportunity to crackdown on Crimean Tatars and create a scarecrow as a terrorist organization that threatens Russia and its security”, - Oleksandr Pavlichenko, executive director of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, told Suspilne Crimea.

He noted that the existence of the organization is important for the occupying authorities because if it were not for Hizb ut-Tahrir, they would have created something new.

“This is one of the FSB tricks that require victims who later get into the car to intimidate the civilian population. This is done to sow fear and show that everyone can be in the detainee's place. It does not matter whether the person was involved in any criminal activity. If a person is already on the list of detainees by the occupation authorities, no factors will be taken into account,” -  Alexander Pavlichenko said.

Lawyer Lilya Gemedzhi drew attention to the provisions of the Geneva Convention and the fact that Muratov is a citizen of Ukraine.

Defence attorney Emine Avamilyova noted that the prosecutor referred to inadmissible evidence.

“The prosecutor referred to the testimony of an operative officer, which was based on operational data and was not procedurally fixed. He also referred to some mediocre characteristics, to the fact that the neighbours heard how people of Muslim appearance with beards visited Muratov, and they loudly discussed something, while the witness did not say what exactly was said. In court, this had not been found. We believe that for a person who turns 65 this year, even this term is lifelong. For discussion, conversations, and participation in the public life of the city for participation in the community's life - such a term? The defence does not agree with the crime against him. We will prepare our speech in the debate,” - lawyer Lilia Gemedzhi said.

The executive director of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union stressed that this is an old Soviet practice dating back to the 1930s. They persecuted a person without taking into account any other factors: age, health or evidence of innocence. Alexander Pavlichenko also explained that the Russian Federation is constantly trying to remove the Crimean Tatar population from the peninsula.

"Such rhetoric has been present in Crimea for a long time, and it is still constantly voiced by the Russian Federation. For example, they say that the Crimean Tatars collaborated with the occupying power when German troops occupied Crimea during World War II.

The Russian authorities use this thesis to show the unfriendly attitude of the Crimean Tatar people towards Russia. The values ​​of the Soviet Union are still being established: all those who do not accept their rules are enemies.  Accordingly, Russia transfers this assessment to the Crimean Tatar people, accusing them of treason. This behaviour will change only when the occupying power leaves the peninsula. Of course, the issue of de-occupation should be as peaceful as possible. Only de-occupation will change the Soviet vision and stop propagating this history”, - Pavlichenko added.

He summed up that today we can only count on the practice adopted in this category of cases.

"It is important to have extrajudicial intervention by some forces that can influence the decision because there is already a planned process with a certain scenario and a specific goal, where the finale has long been known.

This is well understood by the Crimean Tatar people and the entire population, who disagree with the occupation regime. It is necessary to involve as much as possible all independent international organisations that extend their jurisdiction to the Russian Federation", - the executive director added.

What is known

  • Zekirya Muratov is a Crimean Tatar with a third-degree disability, has many diseases: high blood pressure, heart failure, heart disease, numbness of the left leg, frequent falls, muscle atrophy. The man has kidney issues. He experiences constant attacks of severe pain. Muratov underwent several operations: inguinal hernia, umbilical hernia, gallstone disease, chronic hypertension.
  • In the summer of 2021, the political prisoner contracted COVID-19 in remand prison. In critical condition, he was rushed to the MOTB-19 prison hospital in Rostov-on-Don with a diagnosis of "bilateral pneumonia". He had a 50% lung injury. Earlier in March, he suffered a hypertensive crisis.
  • He spent 48 days in the ward, but despite his difficult condition and lawyers' requests, the court remanded Muratov in custody, continuing the pretrial detention according to the prosecutor's regular statements.
  • The Crimean Tatar was detained in Alushta on July 7, 2020, during mass searches on charges of committing a crime under Article 205.5 of the Criminal Code.
  • The Islamic political party Hizb ut-Tahrir has been banned in Russia since 2003. The organisation operates without restrictions on the territory of Ukraine and most countries of the world.

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