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Legal Threats to Prominent Civic Activists Grow in Russian-Occupied Crimea
In response to the Russian Federation Security Services’ (FSB) issuance of legal notices to three prominent activists associated with the Crimean Solidarity movement, as part of the Russian Federation’s intensifying crackdown against minority groups on the Crimean peninsula, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“The latest assault on lawyers and human rights defenders working with Crimean Solidarity, particularly those from the Crimean Tatar community, is a serious blow to the grassroots civic movement. Crimean Solidarity is one of the few remaining groups working to protect human rights under Russian occupation,” said Marc Behrendt, director for Europe & Eurasia at Freedom House. “Specious accusations that the peaceful movement and its activists, particularly the Crimean Tatars, are connected to so-called “extremist groups” demonstrate not only the moral bankruptcy of Russia’s occupation, but also the pervasive use of extremism accusations to silence minority communities and those who defend democracy in this challenging environment.”
“The United States and its European allies should insist on fair and thorough investigations of these legal processes, and use all available instruments to hold Russia accountable for its actions that have violated its international obligations,” Behrendt said.
Crimea is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2018. Ukraine is rated Partly Free in Freedom in the World 2018, Partly Free in Freedom of the Press 2017, Partly Free in Freedom on the Net 2018, and receives a democracy score of 4.64, on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 as the worst possible score, in Nations in Transit 2018.
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.