The sentencing of Ilmi Umerov, the Deputy Chairman of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis, to two years imprisonment for “separatism” is deeply concerning. Once again, this demonstrates the Russian Federation’s systematic persecution of those who voice their opposition to the illegal annexation of Crimea.
The sentencing of Ilmi Umerov offers yet another example of the deteriorating human rights situation in Crimea since 2014, as highlighted most recently in the report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights published on 25 September. Ilmi Umerov’s view that the annexation of Crimea is illegal has been widely supported by the international community, including through the UN General Assembly and the EU’s package of sanctions on Russia. From the beginning, Umerov’s case, including his detention in a psychiatric unit in 2016, has fallen well short of international standards.
We do not, and will not, recognise Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea. Russia must return Crimea to Ukraine and immediately release all those who have been detained or imprisoned for opposing Russian control of the peninsula.
We welcome the invaluable work and reporting by the UN Office of the High Commission for Human (OHCHR) in exposing the “multiple and grave violations” committed by the Russian Federation in Crimea, despite Russia’s refusal to engage with the OHCHR and deny the mission access to the peninsula.