EU welcomes release of leading Crimean Tatar figures

Europe calls on Russia to respect rights of Crimean Tatars 

EU welcomes release of leading Crimean Tatar figures

World Bulletin / News Desk

The EU on Thursday welcomed the release of leading Crimean Tatar figures Ulmi Umerov and Akhtem Chyigoz from jail on Wednesday.

"This is good news. The European Union does not recognize the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation and therefore does not recognize the application of Russian law in the Peninsula," it said in a statement.

Umerov, deputy chairman of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis -- a representative body -- and Deputy Mejlis Chair Chyigoz were jailed on Sept. 27 and 11 respectively after being convicted by a Russian court in Crimea for charges of "separatism".

Umerov was sentenced to two years in prison, while Chyigoz got eight years.

The EU said it consistently advocated for their unconditional release and appreciated the efforts of all those who also worked for this outcome.

"The European Union expects Russia to reverse the decision to ban the activities of [the] Mejlis, the self-governing body of the Crimean Tatars, and respect the rights of the Crimean Tatars, including those of freedom of assembly and expression," it added.

It also called on Moscow to release immediately all illegally detained Ukrainian citizens on the Crimean Peninsula and in Russia.

Ukraine has been wracked by conflict since March 2014 following Russia’s annexation of Crimea after an illegal independence vote.

The UN General Assembly has voted to proclaim the Russian annexation illegal.

Along with many UN countries, the U.S., the EU and Turkey also do not recognize Crimea as Russian territory.

Since the annexation of Crimea, the region’s Tatar minority has complained of repression, including arbitrary arrests and detentions.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 26 Ekim 2017, 12:51