Crimea: trial of more than 70 Tatar activists latest move in Russia's crackdown
‘The Russian authorities are simply sweeping up anyone who participated in order to punish them for daring to speak out’ - Oksana Pokalchuk
Reacting to the simultaneous trials today of more than 70 Crimean Tatar activists after they staged peaceful, individual demonstrations across multiple locations in Russian-occupied Crimea, Oksana Pokalchuk, Amnesty International Ukraine’s Executive Director, said:
“The Russian authorities are simply sweeping up anyone who participated in order to punish them for daring to speak out.
“So-called ‘single person picketing’ does not require prior authorisation by the authorities and so this protest - though carefully choreographed across many locations - was entirely legal.”
All the activists are charged with “violation of the procedure for organising or holding gatherings” for participating in a series of single-person pickets that took place on 14 October. On that day, dozens of Crimean Tatar activists took to the streets to demand respect for their human rights and denounce Russian reprisals against their community.
The authorities have regarded single-person pickets as a “mass unauthorised protest”. Some people have already been convicted and fined 10,000 rubles (approximately £125), a significant amount given that the average monthly wage in Crimea is 24,000 rubles.
The trials have been taking place today in courts in various locations in Crimea, including in the region’s capital Simferopol, the cities of Alushta, Belogorsk, Dzhankoy and Sudak, and the districts of Kirovsky, Krasnogvardeysky and Sovetsky.