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Crimea: Russia Intensifies Actions Targeting Crimean Tatars
Following Russian authorities’ arrest of a prominent Crimean Tatar human rights figure, Server Mustafayev, as part of an intensifying crackdown against minority groups in the Crimean peninsula, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“The growing number of house searches, harassment, and arrests being carried out by Russian security agents in Crimea are part of Russia’s effort to silence the Crimean Tatar community, especially human rights activists, journalists, and the leaders of grassroots civil action groups,” said Marc Behrendt, director for Europe and Eurasia programs at Freedom House. On May 21, the Federal Security Service (FSB) arrested Server Mustafayev, a coordinator of the civic group Crimean Solidarity. Mustafayev faces accusations of terrorism, including alleged membership in the group Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is banned as a terrorist group in the Russian Federation. Before Mustafayev's arrest, the FSB also arrested blogger and civic journalist Nariman Memedeminov for allegedly sharing “extremist statements” in a YouTube video recorded almost five years ago.
“It is important that the United States, the European Union and international agencies insist on fair and thorough investigations of these arrests – and insist on the monitoring of Russia’s compliance with the protection of minorities,” Behrendt said.
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.