Defendants in the Hizb ut-Tahrir case have been illegally detained for four years

February 14, 2023

Four years ago, on February 14, 2019, Russian security forces conducted mass searches in the homes of Crimean Tatars in the village of Oktyabrske, Krasnohvardiiske district of Crimea. As a result, 3 people were detained on suspicion of involvement in the Hizb ut-Tahrir organization banned in the Russian Federation – Arsen Abkhairov, Eskender Abdulhaniev and Rustem Emiruseinov. In November 2020, the Southern District Military Court in Rostov-on-Don announced the verdict on political prisoners. Rustem Emiruseinov was sentenced to 17 years in prison, Arsen Abkhairov to 13 and Eskender Abdulhaniev to 12. They have been illegally detained for four years now.

We remind you that after the occupation of Crimea, the Russian Federation actively practices religious persecution on the peninsula. According to the Crimean Tatar Resource Center, 103 people are being prosecuted in the Hizb ut-Tahrir case, 99 of them are representatives of the indigenous Crimean Tatar people. 74 of them are serving sentences in Russian prisons and colonies, and 24 are in pre-trial detention, 2 are under house arrest, 3 have been released.

The accusations in these so-called cases are based on the testimony of hidden witnesses and the conclusions of experts actively cooperating with the FSB of the Russian Federation. The only evidence is forbidden Islamic literature found during the searches, FSB intelligence and audio recordings, which allegedly recorded that the convicts were discussing religious and political topics. The activists are accused of involvement in activities banned in the Russian Federation by the Hizb ut-Tahrir organization, which has no restrictions on its activities in most countries of the world.

Such a policy of the Russian Federation is a demonstration of the fight against dissent, as well as the religious and political beliefs of people in the occupied Crimea.

The Crimean Tatar Resource Center demands the annulment of all sentences against those involved in the Hizb ut-Tahrir case and the immediate release of other political prisoners.

The Crimean Tatar Resource Center calls on the international community to increase pressure on the Russian Federation in order to stop political persecution in Crimea, as well as to impose personal sanctions against those responsible for human rights violations in the territory of the temporarily occupied Crimea.