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Statement on the Case of Emir-Usein Kuku Prosecuted for Human Rights Activity in Crimea

19 October 2016

The NHC, along with the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (HFHR), and the Human Rights Information Centre (HRIC) demand the immediate release of human rights defender Emir-Usein Kuku, a member of the Crimean Human Rights Group.

After a house search on 11 February 2016, Emir-Usein Kuku was arrested on charges of terrorism (art. 250.5 p. 2 Criminal Code), on the grounds of alleged involvement with the Muslim political organisation “Hizb ut-Tahrir”. However, Kuku denies any affiliation with the group. He has been in pre-trial detention in Russia since his arrest, and is set to remain there for the duration of the ongoing investigation, extended until 8 December 2016. Members of his family have also been persecuted.

The lack of access to international mechanisms and the bleak prospects for a political solution regarding Crimea gradually came to diminish international attention on the situation. Overall, there is a lack of human rights-centered solutions in regions affected by conflict and jurisdictional disputes. This must change, as repression in Crimea has only persisted throughout 2016.

The retaliation against Emir-Usein Kuku is in contradiction to the provisions of art. 12 par. 2 of the UN Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. On many occasions, pre-trial detention used as a form of retaliation has also been ruled a breach of articles 5 and 18 of the ECHR.

The NHC, HFHR, and HRIC call upon the international community not to turn a blind eye to such prosecutions, where terrorism-related charges are used to silence dissent – as in the case of Kuku. The OSCE, the Council of Europe and the EU should step up efforts to end reprisals against human rights activists in Crimea, whose work is protected by international standards. The international community must take action to put a halt to reprisals against Emir-Usein Kuku and bring to an end his politically motivated arrest.

Read the official statement of the 3 organisations here: 2016_10_Kuku_statement.pdf