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 and documents human rights violations, provides legal support to victims and investigates enforced disappearances in occupied Crimea.
On April 25, 2023, members of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) and of the Centre for Combatting Extremism, masked and armed with firearms, conducted a search in the apartment of Abdureshit Dzhepparov in the Sary-Su village of Bilogorsk District, in the Russian-occupied Crimea. Mr Dzhepparov’s mobile phone and video recorder, as well as his wife and daughter’s phones were seized. The Russian law enforcement officers also confiscated his Ukrainian international passport, as well as an award he had received from the Ukrainian government. Mr Dzhepparov was subsequently arrested and taken to an unknown location. His fate and whereabouts remained unknown for more than 12 hours.
On April 26, 2023, it became known that, following his arrest, Mr Dzhepparov was brought before the Bilohirsk District Court, was charged with “disobedience to police officer” (Article 19.3 of the Code of Administrative Offences of the Russian Federation) and sentenced to 12 days of administrative detention. His lawyer was not present in the courthouse, because he was denied any information about Mr Dzhepparov’s whereabouts, place of detention and any procedures against his client. According to the version events of the Russian law enforcement, the charge is related to the alleged resistance he put up to prevent the seizure of his laptop during the search. Mr Dzhepparov later told his lawyer that this accusation was false, given that it was impossible for him to put up any resistance against the armed men ,and that he knows how to behave in the context of a search.
At the time of this Urgent Appeal, Mr Dzhepparov remained detained in solitary confinement in the Special Detention Centre in Simferopol.
The Observatory recalls that this is not the first time Mr Dzhepparov is arbitrarily arrested. On March 16, 2022, following a search in his apartment conducted by several FSB officers, he was 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 of the Russian Federation (“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 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 in Crimea, asking them to:
- Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Abdureshit Dzhepparov, his family and all other human rights defenders in Crimea;
- 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;
- Guarantee Abdureshit Dzhepparov’s unhindered access to his family members and to a lawyer of his own or his family’s choosing;
- 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 missions or embassies of Russia in your respective country.