Dear Military Prosecutor,
I am appalled by the sentencing of Emir-Usein Kuku, Muslim Aliev, Vadim Siruk, Enver Bekirov, Arsen Dzhepparov and Refat Alimov on 12 November 2019 to long prison terms.
Since their arrest, more than three years ago, the rights of these men have been repeatedly and seriously violated. Their prosecution under Russian criminal law before a military court violates international humanitarian law and their right to a fair trial. The charges against them are trumped-up, and no credible evidence of any internationally recognizable crime has been provided against them during their protracted trial.
Despite this, they have been found guilty by the Southern District Military Court of “organizing of the activities of a terrorist organization” and “attempted forcible seizure of power” (Part 2 of Article 205.5, Article 30, and Article 278 of the Russian Criminal Code) and given lengthy prison sentences: Muslim Aliyev has been sentenced to 19 years in a penal colony, Enver Bekirov to 18 years, Vadim Siruk and Emir-Usein Kuku to 12 years each, Refat Alimov to eight years and Arsen Dzhepparov to seven years.
This prosecution follows a pattern of persecution of members of the Crimean Tatar community and all dissenting voices, following the Russian annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014. Emir-Usein Kuku is a human rights defender and prominent member of the Crimean Tatar community who has been vocal exposing human rights violations and evidence of coercion and threats to the members of the community.
I am calling for an immediate and unconditional release of Emir-Usein Kuku and his co-defendants, and urge you to take all necessary steps to ensure that they are freed and that their sentences are quashed.