UWC condemns new wave of persecutions in Russian-occupied Crimea
The Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) strongly condemns Russia’s new wave of terror in occupied Crimea and calls on the international community to demand the immediate release of political prisoners. The UWC also demands that Russian officials involved in the persecution and torture of political prisoners be held internationally accountable.
Shortly after the successful inaugural Crimea Platform Summit in Kyiv, the Russian occupation authorities in Crimea have launched a new wave of political repression against Crimean Tatar community activists, most of them being members or activists of this indigenous people’s self-governing body, the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People.
On September 4, Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) troops kidnapped Nariman Dzhelal, the First Deputy Head of the Mejlis, who has recently returned home from Kyiv, where Dzhelal participated in the Crimea Platform Summit as a member of the Mejlis delegation. The Crimean Tatar politician was later found detained in the “Crimean headquarters” of the FSB in the city of Simferopol. According to the MFA of Ukraine, Dzhelal and other detained Crimean Tatar activists have been tortured.
On the same day, Crimean Tatars spontaneously gathered for a rally in Simferopol to demand freedom for the detained activists. However, the rally was brutally crushed by the Russian special police force and another 45 people were captured and detained.
During the August 23 Crimea Platform Summit, over 44 countries and international organizations, including the UWC, have reaffirmed that Crimea is Ukraine. As Russia tries to undermine Ukraine’s de-occupation efforts and increases pressure on the Crimean Tatar and Ukrainian communities in Crimea, the world must stand united to counter Russian aggression and protect democracy and human rights.