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Crimea: Release Leading Attorney Detained on Trumped-Up Charges
Following yesterday's politically motivated detention of Emil Kurbedinov, a prominent lawyer in Crimea who is instrumental in defending embattled activists, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“Kurbedinov’s detention is a reflection of a serious deterioration of the protection of human rights in Crimea,” said Marc Behrendt, director for Europe and Eurasia Programs at Freedom House. “With lawyers now the subject of detention and attack, there is no protection for anyone on the peninsula with dissenting opinions, allowing abuse to occur unchecked. This is brazen effort to silence a prominent advocate for defenders who have been persecuted by the de facto authorities in Crimea, and underscores that there isn’t even the pretense of the rule of law under the Russian control of the peninsula since their occupation began in 2014.”
Emil Kurbedinov, a Crimean Tatar human rights lawyer, faces accusations from the de facto authorities of allegedly displaying “extremist” symbols. In 2017, Kurbedinov served a ten-day administrative sentence under similar trumped-up charges for a 2013 post on the Russian social media network VK. In November 2018, Kurbedinov was served a warning regarding the impermissibility of extremist activity.
Kurbedinov was awarded the Frontline Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk in 2017, which is awarded to human rights activists for making outstanding contributions to the promotion and protection of the human rights of others, often at great personal risk to themselves.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.