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Write to Russias political prisoners in Crimea!

31.12.15

LET MY PEOPLE GO (#letmypeoplego) is a civic campaign initiated by Euromaidan SOS, and seeking the release of all Ukrainians held illegally on politically-motivated charges in Russia or Russian-occupied Crimea .

Russia has systematically prevented media openness and obstructed access to occupied Crimea, making it very difficult to follow prosecutions which are clearly politically motivated. There are currently eight people known to be in detention on gravely flawed charges, with one trial just beginning and that of the alleged members of Hizb ut-Takhrir likely to begin shortly.

Please help break through Russias information blockade and tell people politicians, the media about these prosecutions.

All are spending New Year away from their families, and some have small children. Please also write and show them theyre not forgotten. You can either join the #Letmypeoplego Marathon and send greeting cards, or use the suggestions below.

The Crimean Tatar Mejlis has kindly promised to pass on all letters, so just send the letters / cards to the following address in Kyiv, with the name of the particular person written as indicated below (the year in brackets is their year of birth, and is used when writing to people held in detention or prison).

- 01014, , . , 22/14

(Ukraine, Predstavitelstvo Medzhlisa krymskotatarskogo naroda v Kieve 01014, Kiev, ul. Sedovtsev, 22/14)

Since the letters / cards need to be in Russian, if this is difficult, then the following would be fine in all cases.

! Happy New Year! Or just: ! (Hello!)

, , .

(I wish you good health, courage and patience and hope that you will soon be released).

1 Legally nonsensical charges

Crimean Tatar Mejlis leader Akhtem Chiygoz, Ali Asanov and Mustafa Degermendzhy

All of the cases involving Ukrainian nationals imprisoned unlawfully in Crimea or Russia are lawless, but this prosecution is probably in a league of its own.

The entire case is illegal under Russias own legislation, since the charges are under Russias anti-protest laws, yet pertain to a pre-annexation demonstration over which Russia has no jurisdiction;

Only Crimean Tatars are targeted although there were also pro-Russian demonstrators present on Feb 26, 2014.

There is no evidence against any of the three men who remain in custody yet court after court has extended their detention.

The trial began on Dec 28, with the judge simply ignoring the valid application to terminate all prosecutions on the grounds that they directly breach Russias Criminal Code (Article 12 3).

See: Russias Attack on Crimean Tatar Leader nears Lawless Conclusion

Akhtem Chiygoz

, 1964 ..

Mustafa Degermendzhy

, 1989 ..

Ali Asanov

, 1982 ..

2 Muslims labelled terrorists

Four Crimean Tatars - Nuri Primov; Ferat Saifullayev, Rustem VaitovandRuslan Zeitullayevare charged with organizing and / or taking part in the activities of Hizb ut-Takhrir, an organization that is legal in Ukraine and other countries.

Russia has labelled the organization as terrorist yet has never provided any evidence of terrorist activities. It has also sentenced people in Russia to terms of imprisonment for mere involvement in the organization. This has been condemned by the Sova Centre, while the Memorial Human Rights Centre has declared all those convicted of terrorism for their involvement in Hizb ut-Takhrir to be political prisoners.

It is not in fact clear that all of the four men are members of Hizb ut-Takhrir, and the methods applied to frighten people from attending the detention hearings suggest that there are no grounds for criminal charges against the men at all.

See: Muslims labelled terrorists under Russian occupation

Nuri Primov

, 1976 ..

Ferat Saifullayev

, 1983

Rustem Vaitov

, 1985 ..

Ruslan Zeitullayev

Imprisoned for an article condemning Russias annexation of Crimea

Worryingly little information is available about Yury Ilchenko, a Sevastopol teacher and blogger, arrested on July 2.

In true Soviet style, the investigators have come up with non-political charges, which are reported to have been laid after Ilchenkos friend was put under pressure to allege improper behaviour towards her 12-year-old daughter.

It is very clear, however, that Ilchenko and his father had faced a search and interrogations where the questions were about material Ilchenko had written in which he expressed opposition to Russias actions. There are also indications that the FSB sent somebody to try to provoke him into statements that could have resulted in terrorism charges.

See: Ukrainian teacher arrested in Crimea on extremism charges With slightly more up-to-date information via a friend here.

Yury Ilchenko

, 1978

Halya Coynash

see also:
Kremlin Miscalculates Badly on Ukrainian Prisoners
Sentsov & Kolchenko are being moved to Russian prisons. Write to them!
Oppose Russian Occupation of Crimea & Face 20 Years for Terrorism
Sentsov & Kolchenko Appeal Rejected in Predictably Farcical Court Hearing
Russias Ideologically Motivated State Terror and Its Ukrainian Victims
Illegally Held and In Danger: Gennady Afanasyev needs our help
Send Birthday Wishes to Russias Crimean Political Prisoners!
Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov sues Russias FSB for defamation
Prominent Russians warn of mounting political terror, demand release of Sentsov & Kolchenko
Oleg Sentsov sues Russian TV channels for defamation