Crimean Tatar Leader Slams Russia's Suspension of Mejlis

Move to suspend Mejlis of Crimean Tatar People 'declaration of war,' Crimean Tatar leader Kirimoglu says
18/04/2016
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Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Abduldzhemil Kirimoglu has slammed Russia’s suspension of minority’s supreme executive commission.

A Russia-backed prosecutor in Crimea suspended the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People Wednesday to “prevent violations of the federal laws.”

Addressing World Crimean Tatar Congress in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius Thursday, Kirimoglu termed the move a “declaration of war”.

Later, Kirimoglu, who is a former Mejlis head and member of Ukrainian parliament, said “[Russia] considers us an extremist terrorist group...to suspend our Mejlis means suspending all Crimean Tatar people.”

He said the Russian media has also launched a smear campaign against Crimean Tatar leaders and institutions.

He highlighted the fact that human rights violations were on the rise in the annexed region, including police raids on common people's homes and searches becoming part of normal life.

He called for sanctions to end the occupation of Crimea. “The most prudent way is sanctions which should remain in force until the occupant country [Russia] has retreated,” Kirimoglu said.

On Feb. 15, Russia-backed Prosecutor Natalya Poklonskaya filed a lawsuit at the Crimean High Court to recognize the Crimean Tatar Mejlis as an extremist organization and demanded its closure. The first hearing was held on March 3, and since then the case examination got postponed four times on various grounds.

Poklonskaya’s ruling to suspend the activity of Crimean Tatar Mejlis would remain valid until Crimea’s Supreme Court announces its decision.

Kirimoglu earlier said courts in the annexed region were simply obeying orders of Moscow. He said the decision to suspend the activity of Mejlis was in violation even according to Russian law. “If you have filed a lawsuit, the result should be awaited,” he said, adding: “This decision shows to the world who is Russia.”

About the restrictions on the body, the prosecutor had said: “The association is banned from using all state and municipal media, it can’t hold various public mass events, use bank accounts or conduct any type of work. All its propaganda will be prohibited.”

In March 2014, Putin signed into law a deal, according to which the Ukraine’s Autonomous Republic of Crimea joined the Russian Federation, following an illegal referendum held in the peninsula. The move was strongly opposed by Ukraine, EU, and the U.S. who put sanctions on Moscow.

Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, consists of 33 members, including the chairman, according to its official website.

It aims to eliminate “the consequences of the genocide, committed by the Soviet state against Crimean Tatars, restoration of the national and political rights of the Crimean Tatar people and implementation of its right to free national self-determination in its national territory,” the Mejlis website added.

Source: World Bulletin

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