Pretrial Detention Of Crimean Tatar Activist Prolonged

A court in Russian-controlled Crimea has prolonged pretrial detention for jailed Crimean Tatar activist Ahtem Ciygoz for another three months.

Ciygoz's lawyer, Nikolai Polozov, wrote on Twitter on December 12 that his client's pretrial detention was prolonged until April 8, 2017.

It had been set to end on January 8.

Ciygoz is charged with organizing public disorder.

He was detained in January 2015 in connection with unrest outside the Crimean parliament on February 26, 2014, when Crimean Tatars and other pro-Ukrainian activists clashed with pro-Russian activists.

The next day, armed men in uniforms without insignia seized the parliament building and the legislature voted to join Russia several days later.

After sending in troops, Russia cemented its control over Crimea in March 2014 by staging a referendum condemned as illegitimate by Ukraine, the United States, and a total of 100 UN member states.

The Moscow-based Memorial Human Rights Center has deemed Ciygoz a political prisoner.

Rights groups say Crimean Tatars and others who opposed Russia's takeover have faced discrimination and abuse at the hands of the Moscow-imposed authorities.