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Lawlessness unto themselves

28.02.2008

The Simferopol City Council has taken a decision which is difficult not to see as deliberately aimed at heightening tension in the city and perhaps in the Crimea.  In distasteful Soviet style, they claim their decision is in response to requests from residents and a collective appeal from a number of institutions.  On Thursday, 28 February the Council decided to declare the land site at 22 Yaltynska St and the surrounding territory a “park forest area” used for recreation purposes by Simferopol residents.  This land had earlier been applied for and allocated for the building of a Soborna or Assembly Mosque by the Spiritual Directorate of Muslims. After all permit documentation had been gathered and submitted, this being a lengthy and expensive process, the Council suddenly decided to allocate an entirely different site.

The Prosecutor lodged a protest against this decision, saying that by unilaterally changing the location, the Council had acted in breach of the law.  The Council today cancelled its decision to allocate the land on Luhova St which had not been asked for. However it recommended that the Spiritual Directorate make a new application – for the land on Luhova St. …

The Council also stated that it planned to appeal against the ruling of the Crimean Economic Court ordering the Simferopol City Council to conclude a lease agreement within ten days for the land site.

The First Deputy Head of the Mejilis of the Crimean Tatar people, Refat Chubarov states that the farce now unfolding within the City Council is entering an extremely dangerous phase.

"The Crimean Prosecutor should now step in and initiate criminal proceedings against the officials and deputies of the Simferopol City Council.”. He said that the Council was brazenly ignoring the Economic Court’s ruling and those who had taken the decision to again turn down the application for the land (for the Soborna Mosque) should be brought to answer.

Refat Chubarov believes it possible that the Mayor Gennady Babenko is deliberately fuelling tension in order to present himself as the defender of the non-Muslim part of the Crimean population.

Despite the City Council’s decision, the Mejilis of the Crimean Tatar people, together with the Spiritual Directorate of Muslims, are continuing their protest action in which they are calling on Muslims and other residents of the Crimea to bring one stone each for the Mosque. They have already gathered more than 64 thousand stones, and Mr Chubarov says, within a week there will be no less than 100 thousand.

Using information from the Mejilis of the Crimean Tatar people and www.crimea.unian.net

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