World Bulletin / News Desk
Russian authorities in Crimea have transferred the imprisoned son of Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Jemilev from the peninsula to Russia's Krasnodar region.
Hayser Jemilev, who has been in prison since May 2013 after being accused of shooting his friend, is currently being held on three charges under the Russian Criminal Code, including murder and the illegal possession of weapons.
After a brief pause in the investigation, Russian authorities in Crimea reopened the case in June following the annexation of the peninsula in March.
Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Jemilev, who is now based in the Ukrainian capital Kiev after Crimea's pro-Russian government banned him from the peninsula for five years, told Ukraine's Kanal 24 television channel on Monday that Russia is holding his son “hostage” to put pressure on him.
Last month, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko appointed Crimean Tatar leader and Ukrainian MP Mustafa Jemilev as his representative on Crimean Tatar affairs.
Over the weekend, two Crimean Tatars from the city of Belogorsk were seized by a group of unknown men in military uniform and have not been seen since.
The latest incident brings back memories of Crimean Tatar activist Reshat Ametov, who was seized by unknown men in March and was later found dead.
3,000 TATARS LEAVE
Since the annexation in March, around 3,000 Crimean Tatars have left the peninsula for mainland Ukraine.
The U.N. has also pointed to the erosion of human rights in Crimea, which remains under the occupation of pro-Russian militias who particularly threaten the Crimean Tatars.
Crimean Tatars have complained that they have been targeted for speaking their Turkic language in public and have had their homes marked by pro-Russian militiamen.
The Crimean Tatars have largely opposed the annexation of Crimea by Russia, fearing a repeat of the events of 1944 when 190,000 Tatars were completely expelled as part of former Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's policy.
They gradually started returning in the early 1990s after the fall of the Soviet Union, but still live as a minority in their homeland as they were displaced by ethnic Russian settlers who migrated there later on. According to Ukraine’s 2001 national census, Crimea was home to 243,000 Tatars out of a population of around 2 million.
Since the annexation, Russia has been granting Russian citizenship to the people of Crimea in replacement of their Ukrainian nationality. Crimean Tatars, who have campaigned to reject Russian citizenship, reserve the right to remain as Ukrainian citizens, but will by default become foreigners in their homeland.Last Mod: 30 Eylül 2014, 13:05