RFE/RL – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (Autor)
SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine -- A Crimean Tatar rights activist being held in prison in Ukraine’s Russia-annexed Crimea had his detention extended on the day he should have been released.
The Crimean Solidarity human rights group said that on December 7 its coordinator, Mustafa Seidaliyev, was found guilty of uploading to the Internet allegedly extremist material and was ordered to remain in detention a further 10 days. That action came the same day Seidaliyev was ending a 14-day jail term.
His lawyers rejected the charges, saying the video was uploaded back in 2012 and contained nothing that was extremist.
Seidaliyev was arrested on November 23 along with 30 other Crimean Tatar activists when they came to a detention center in Crimea's capital, Simferopol, to greet Crimean Tatar lawyer Edem Semedlyayev, who was being released from custody after serving 12 days in jail for refusal to cooperate with Russia-imposed security officials.
Seidaliyev and the other arrested Crimean Tatars were found guilty of violating a Russian law on mass gatherings. Some of them were handed sentences of up to two weeks in jail, while some were ordered to pay fines. Seidaliyev was sentenced to 14 days in jail.
Since Russia occupied Crimea in 2014, the authorities have prosecuted dozens of Crimean Tatars amid what rights groups and Western governments have described as a campaign of repression against members of the Turkic-speaking Crimean Tatar community and others who have spoken out against Moscow's takeover of the peninsula.
Russia has also backed separatists in a war against Ukrainian government forces that has killed more than 13,200 people in eastern Ukraine since April 2014.
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