The EU decisively condemns the arrest of 23 Crimean Tatars in police raids by the Russian occupation authorities in Crimea on 27 and 28 March, said EU Spokesperson for EU Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Maja Kocijancic in a statement.
“A court in the Crimean peninsula, illegally annexed from Ukraine by Russia, has ruled that all 23 Crimean Tatars detained on 27 March and 28 March will be held in pre-trial detention until 15 May. They are accused of belonging to the organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is banned in Russia but not in Ukraine. The European Union does not recognise the enforcement of Russian legislation in Crimea and Sevastopol and expects all illegally detained Ukrainians to be released without delay,” Kocijancic stated.
“The recent detentions, as well as the prior searches of their private property, constitute the latest targeting of Crimean Tatars, human rights defenders, and people who have spoken out peacefully against the illegal annexation by Russia of the Crimean peninsula,” the EU spokesperson stressed.
“The European Union expects the Russian Federation to end these practices and to take all necessary steps to ensure that human rights and fundamental freedoms can be exercised by all in Crimea, without discrimination on any grounds,” she added.
The document also states that such acts corroborate the report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, which states that “Crimean Tatars continue to be disproportionately affected by police raids and prosecuted under terrorism and extremism-related offenses”.
On 27 March, Russian law enforcement officers carried out as many as 25 searches of Crimean Tatars’ houses supposedly in connection with the “Hizb ut-Tahrir” case.
23 people were arrested, including people who came to support the subjects of the searches. The Kyiv District Court of Simferopol in occupied Crimea placed them all under pre-trial detention until 15 May. All the detainees have been taken to Russia.
The Russian FSB is also believed to have detained a 24th Crimean Tatar – the activist Edem Yayachikov.