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Memorial Human Rights Centre: Release Hayser Dzhemilev Immediately

posted 3 Feb 2016, 10:37 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 3 Feb 2016, 10:39 ]
2 February 2016

Source: Memorial Human Rights Centre

The Memorial Human Rights Centre demands the release of Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemilev’s son, who is now imprisoned in Russia (Statement, 3 February 2016)

Hayser Dzhemilev is being illegally detained in Russia. The son of the Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemilev, Hayser has been convicted of manslaughter by negligence (Article 109 of the Russian Federation Criminal Code) and for the theft and illegal possession of firearms. He has been taken to a penal colony in the Astrakhan Region (South Russia).

Seen against the background of the violations of international law committed by the annexation of Crimea in 2014, the detention of H. Dzhemilev is unprecedented. We believe there was not the slightest pretext for the Russian authorities to intervene in this criminal case.

As a Ukrainian citizen and a registered inhabitant of Kiev, Hayser Dzhemilev committed the offence in 2013 against another Ukrainian citizen. A criminal investigation was opened by the Ukrainian investigative bodies, but after the annexation of the Crimean peninsula the Russian authorities once again instigated criminal proceedings.

As of the present there exists a legitimate verdict passed by a Ukrainian court on 7 April 2015. In the absence of the accused the court sentenced him to 3 years and 8 months’ imprisonment (this corresponds to the recent Russian sentence of 3 years and six months for comparable offences). Dzhemilev fully admitted his guilt and did not dispute the sentence. The Russian sentence, therefore, duplicates that of the Ukrainian judicial system. In our view the second sentence was needed merely to create the impression that Hayser Dzhemilev’s detention in Russia was lawful.

Ukraine has twice formally requested the release of the convicted man, but has twice been refused. On 10 July 2015 the European Court of Human Rights instructed Russia to release Hayser Dzhemilev. This demand was also ignored.

The actions of the Russian authorities toward Hayser Dzhemilev can clearly be seen as a form of pressure on his father who was earlier prohibited entry into Russia and now is subject of an arrest warrant. In August 2014 Mustafa Dzhemilev told the media that Putin’s advisers had insisted that he talk directly to Vladimir Putin, hinting that the fate of his son depended on his compliance. Russia’s investigative bodies not only intervened unlawfully in this case: they also attempt to charge Hayser Dzhemilev with murder, proposing that he face a sentence up to and including life imprisonment.

The Memorial Human Rights Centre considers that the actions of the Russian authorities have turned Hayser Dzhemilev into a hostage whose fate depends on the political activities of his father Mustafa Dzhemilev.