The Observatory has been informed about the administrative arrest of 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 March 16, 2022, at 7 am, members of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) conducted a three-hour search in the apartment of Abdureshit Dzhepparov in the Sary-Su village of Bilogorsk District, in the Russian-occupied Crimea. During the search, a hard drive was seized. Abdureshit Dzhepparov was subsequently arrested and taken to the Bilohorsk police station. Mr. Dzhepparov’s lawyer was not allowed to be present neither during the search nor in the police station. Moreover, two Abdureshit Dzhepparov’s nephews, Muhamed-Ali Dzhepparov and Fevzi Yakubov, were arbitrarily arrested after they came to his uncle’s apartment during the search to support him1.
On the same day as the search, Abdureshit Dzhepparov appeared before the Belogorsk District Court and was charged under Article 20.3 of the Code of Administrative Offences of the Russian Federation (“propaganda and public display of Nazi paraphernalia and symbols”) and sentenced to 15 days of administrative detention. Abdureshit Dzhepparov’s lawyer was given access to the courthouse. The charges are related to Mr. Dzhepparov’s publication of a five-minute video on his social media channels on August 19, 2019 stating that the Soviet military march known as “Aviators March” was copied from the Nazi Germany military march. At the time of publication of this Urgent Appeal, Mr. Dzhepparov was detained in the Evpatoria Temporary Detention Centre. He will appeal the sentence.
The Observatory recalls 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 searches2, 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. Their fate and whereabouts remain unknown since then, and the Russian occupying authorities in Crimea have not launched any investigation into their disappearance.
The Observatory expresses its utmost concern over the administrative detention of Abdureshit Dzhepparov and urges the Russian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release him, to drop all charges against him and to put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the administrative and judicial levels, against him and all human rights defenders and organisations in Crimea.
How You Can Help
Please write to the authorities of Russia, urging them to:
i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Abdureshit Dzhepparov, his family and all other human rights defenders in Crimea;
ii. Immediately and unconditionally release Abdureshit Dzhepparov as his detention is arbitrary and merely aimed at intimidating him and diverting him from his legitimate human rights activities;
iii. Guarantee Abdureshit Dzhepparov’s unhindered access to his family members and to a lawyer of his own or his family’s choosing;
iv. Put an end to all acts of harassment – including at the judicial level – against Abdureshit Dzhepparov, his family and all other human rights defenders in Crimea, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities and exercise their rights without any hindrance 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mr. Igor Krasnov, General Prosecutor of the Russian Federation, email@example.com
- Mr. Alexander Bortnikov, Director of Federal Security Service (FSS), firstname.lastname@example.org
- Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. E-mail: email@example.com
- Embassy of the Russian Federation in Brussels, Belgium. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Permanent Representation of the Russian Federation to the Council of Europe, France. Email: email@example.com
Please also write to the diplomatic representations of the Russian Federation in your respective countries.