The Observatory has been informed about the renewed acts of administrative harassment against Mr Abdureshit Dzhepparov, an indigenous and minority Crimean Tatar rights defender and coordinator of the Crimean Contact Group on Human Rights, a non-governmental organisation that monitors human rights violations, provides legal support, and investigates enforced disappearances in occupied Crimea.
On May 23, 2023, Abdureshit Dzhepparov was informed about two administrative cases opened against him under Part 1 of Article 20.3.3 and Part 9 of Article 13.15 of the Code of Administrative Offences of the Russian Federation (“discrediting the Russian Federation's armed forces” and “abusing the freedom of the media”, respectively).
These cases were initiated by the Main Department for Combating Extremism of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs on April 25, 2023. On that day, his family house was raided and he was subsequently arrested and sentenced to 12 days of administrative detention for allegedly “disobeying to the lawful order of a police officer” during the search (Article 19.3 of the Code of Administrative Offences of the Russian Federation). He was released on May 7, 2023. Yet, neither at the time of his arrest nor during his appearance in court was Mr Dzhepparov informed about any additional administrative protocols opened against him.
Under the two new administrative cases, Mr Dzhepparov is accused of administering the Facebook account of the human rights initiative Qirim Gayesi (“Crimean Idea”), where he allegedly denounced human rights violations in Crimea, expressed his non-support of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and provided information about the deportation of Ukrainian civilians to Russian-controlled territories. Mr Dzhepparov has denied any involvement in these publications. A post on Qirim Gayesi Facebook page dated May 23, 2023 has likewise denied Mr Dzhepparov’s involvement in both the administration of the page and the publication of materials.
Abdureshit Dzhepparov will appear before the Kyiv District Court of the Russian-occupied city of Simferopol on June 13 and July 14, 2023. If found guilty, he faces a fine of up to 150,000 Russian Roubles (approximately 1,700 Euros), in addition to the confiscation of his electronic devices.
The Observatory recalls that Mr Dzhepparov has been routinely subjected to administrative harassment as a means to intimidate him and hinder his human rights work. On March 16, 2022, following a search of his apartment conducted by several Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation officers, he was arbitrarily arrested along with two of his nephews. On the same day, Mr Dzhepparov was sentenced to 15 days of administrative detention under Article 20.3 of the Code of Administrative Offences (“propaganda and public display of Nazi paraphernalia and symbols”). The charges were related to Mr Dzhepparov’s publication of a five-minute video on his social media channels stating that the Soviet military march known as “Aviators march” was copied from the Nazi Germany military march. He served his sentence in Evpatoria Temporary Detention Centre and was released on March 31, 2022.
The Observatory further notes that since the occupation of Crimea by the Russian Federation in 2014, Crimean Tatars and those who defend their rights have been particularly targeted by the Russian authorities, including through enforced disappearances, torture and ill-treatment, arbitrary and administrative detentions, judicial harassment and arbitrary searches, such as the arbitrary detentions of Edem Semedlyaev and Nariman Dzhelyal. In this framework, since 2014, Abdureshit Dzhepparov and his family have faced multiple acts of harassment, threats, and attacks from the Russian authorities, including the abduction of his son Islyam Dzhepparov and nephew Dzhevdet Islyamov on September 27, 2014, whose fate and whereabouts remain unknown since then. The Russian occupying authorities in Crimea have not launched any investigation into their disappearance.
The Observatory expresses its utmost concern about these two new administrative cases against Abdureshit Dzhepparov and urges the Russian authorities in Crimea to dismiss all charges against him, and to put an immediate end to all acts of harassment against him and all human rights defenders in Russian-occupied Crimea.
How You Can Help
Please write to the authorities of Russia in Crimea, asking them to:
- Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Abdureshit Dzhepparov, his family’s and of all other human rights defenders in Crimea;
- Dismiss all charges against Abdureshit Dzhepparov, as they seem to be only aimed at intimidating him and further restricting his legitimate human rights work;
- Put an end to all acts of harassment – both administrative and judicial levels – against Abdureshit Dzhepparov, his family and all other human rights defenders in Crimea, and ensure in all circumstances that they can carry out their legitimate human rights activities and exercise their rights without any obstacles or fear of reprisals.
- Mr Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, Twitter: @KremlinRussia_E
- Mr Mikhail Mishustin, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Twitter: @GovernmentRF
- Mr Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, E-mail: email@example.com
- Mr Igor Krasnov, General Prosecutor of the Russian Federation, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mr Alexander Bortnikov, Director of Federal Security Service (FSS), email@example.com
- Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Embassy of the Russian Federation in Brussels, Belgium. E-mail: email@example.com
- Permanent Representation of the Russian Federation to the Council of Europe, France. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please also write to the diplomatic missions or embassies of Russia in your respective country.