The Tatar population of the Crimea has been subjected to systematic persecution by Russian authorities since the annexation of the territory by Moscow forces, denounces Amnesty International today.

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The report ‘In the Dark: The Silence of Dissent’ reports on the repressive processes used by the Russian authorities against the Crimean Tatars and also against ‘other dissident voices’ for more than two years.

“The Tatar people, the most cohesive and visible group of opposition to the Russian occupation of the Crimea, have in fact been hit by the wave of repression by the Russian authorities in an attempt to silence dissidents by trying to subdue the whole population to annexation,” says John Dalhuisen, director of the Amnesty International Program for Europe and Central Asia.

“Through repressive measures that violate international law, the Russian authorities have persecuted or forced into exile dissidents, including leading leaders and activists from the Crimean Tatar community,” he adds.

Dalhuisen also points out that the legislation that has been imposed by Moscow in the Crimea has been responsible for the “disastrous consequences” that affect freedom of the press and the right of assembly.

According to the report, Mejils, the main Crimean Tatar organization, was “banned” by decree and considered “extremist organization”.

“All the restrictions against Mejils have to be lifted, as well as the criminal prosecutions of those elements of the organization who are peacefully opposed to the annexation and occupation of the Crimean Peninsula,” says John Dalhuisen.

The document from the London-based non-governmental human rights organization indicates that Mejils group leader Refat Chubarov has been forced into exile, as has Mustafa Dzhemiliev, a well-known activist in the Crimean Tatar community.

The report on the persecution on the peninsula annexed by the Moscow forces in Ukraine also included the situation of Ilmi Umerov, vice-president of Mejils, who after public statements against Moscow was forced into a psychiatric clinic.

The document released today also denounces the use of Russian anti-terrorist legislation against a group of 19 Tatars who was accused of extremist activities without any trial being carried out.

“The cases documented in this report demonstrate the hardness of the Russian authorities in canceling any attempt to dissent or oppose the occupation of the Crimea,” concludes the Amnesty International official urging the international community to take a stand against violence and the silencing of abuses Against human rights committed by the occupier.

The Crimean Peninsula was invaded by Moscow forces in 2014.

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