Russia in no hurry to answer for its Soviet-type bans on Dzhemiliev and Yuksel


Two court hearings over appeals lodged against bans imposed since Russia’s annexation of Crimea on people linked with the Crimean Tatar Mejlis, or representative assembly, have been postponed.

The first hearing into an appeal lodged by Nadiya Savchenko’s lawyer Mark Feygin against veteran Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemiliev’s ban from his homeland is now due to take place on Feb 12.  Unless it is postponed again, and this is not unlikely given the total lack of legitimate grounds for the ban.

The hearing into the appeal  by Ismet Yuksel, General Director of the Crimean News Agency [QHA] and adviser to the head of the Mejlis began but was also adjourned because representatives of Russia’s FSB [Security Service] failed to turn up.  QHA cites Illarion Vasilyev, human rights lawyer representing Yuksel in the case as saying that the hearing is now due on Jan 26.

Neither Ismet Yuksel nor Mustafa Dzhemiliev can be at the hearings since the 5-year-bans are on entry to Russia, including but not confined to Crimea while under Russian occupation.

As reported, early on Aug 10, 2014, Yuksel was stopped by border guards when returning to Crimea with his family.  He was handed notification that he had been banned entry to the Russian Federation until June 2019.  Yuksel refused to sign the document passed by the FSB. 

Yuksel is a Turkish national but has lived in the Crimea for around 20 years, and as well as acting as adviser to the head of the Mejlis.  His family lives there, and he has a home there, and a business, yet is now forced to live in Kyiv.

That ban came after the bans on entering their homeland of Mustafa Dzhemiliev and Refat Chubarov, current head of the Mejlis.  It heightened suspicion that the moves were part of the general offensive against the Mejlis which soon afterwards gained pace.

Mustafa Dzhemiliev was just 6 months old in May 1944 when the entire Crimean Tatar People were deported from their native Crimea.  He spent 15 years in Soviet labour camps for his defence of Crimean Tatar rights, and has won renown and respect both in Ukraine and abroad for his unwavering commitment to human rights and democracy. 

On April 22, less than a month before the seventieth anniversary of the Deportation, he was handed a piece of paper informing him that he was banned from his homeland for 5 years.  There were initially denials at the highest level in Russia, but the ban was shortly used to stop Mustafa Dzhemiliev entering Crimea, and remains in force.

The Mejlis, and especially Mustafa Dzhemiliev, had never concealed their rejection of Russian rule, and the latter, under former KGB officer Vladimir Putin, turned to old Soviet tactics against those it clearly views as ‘dissident’ or even enemy elements.

Halya Coynash

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