Urgent Action Outcome: Crimean Tatar rights defender sentenced

Server Mustafayev, a Crimean Tatar human rights defender, was sentenced by a Russian military court on 16 September to fourteen years in a strict regime penal colony. Server Mustafayev must be immediately and unconditionally released as he is a prisoner of conscience, persecuted solely for exercising his human rights and defending the rights of others.




Server Mustafayev, is a Crimean Tatar human rights defender and coordinator of the grassroots movement Crimean Solidarity. The movement was created following the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014 to support victims of political and religious persecution. It also seeks to raise awareness about ongoing human rights violations in Crimea, in the absence of free media and given persecution of all dissenting voices.

On 21 May 2018, Server Mustafayev's house in Bakhchisaray, a town in southern Crimea, was searched by members of the Federal Security Service (FSB). He was detained and charged with "membership of a terrorist organisation" (part 2 of Article 205.5 of the Russian Criminal Code) over his alleged links to Hizb ut-Tahrir, an international Islamic organisation that is banned as "terrorist" in Russia but is legal in Ukraine. Its members have not engaged in nor advocated violence in Crimea, either before or after the peninsula’s occupation in 2014. Alleged membership of Hizb ut-Tahrir has been used by the Russian authorities in occupied Crimea as a pretext for prosecution of dissenting voices, including human rights defender Emir-Usein Kuku. On 22 February 2019, Server Mustafayev was also charged with "conspiring to seize power by violent means" (Article 278 of the Russian Criminal Code). Seven other men were charged with terrorism-related charges as part of this case on the basis of audio recordings of their attendance of a lecture in December 2016 in Bakhchisaray mosque and other meetings: Marlen Asanov, Timur Ibragimov, Server Zekeryayev, Seyran Saliyev, Ernest Ametov, Memet Belyalov and Edem Smailov. 

During the time spent in the detention centre SIZO-1 in the Russian city of Krasnodar, Server Mustafayev was held in appalling conditions that amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment. On 3 November he was transferred to detention centre SIZO-1 in Rostov-on-Don, southwestern Russia, and his trial started shortly after. On 3 March 2020, Server Mustafayev felt ill during the court hearing, but the court denied his repeated requests for medical attention. The authorities continued taking him to subsequent court hearings and denying him access to medical care despite suffering from high fever and developing symptoms related to a viral respiratory infection.

On 16 September, the Southern District Military Court in Rostov-on-Don sentenced Server Mustafayev to fourteen years in a strict regime penal colony despite the lack of any evidence of Server Mustafayev having committed any internationally recognisable crime. Server Mustafayev is a prisoner of conscience, persecuted solely for exercising his human rights and defending the rights of others, and he must be immediately and unconditionally released.

Download full UA in PDF
Download full UA in word