Pretrial Detention Of Crimean Tatar Leader Extended

By RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service

February 12, 2015

SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine -- A court in Crimea’s capital, Simferopol, has prolonged the pretrial detention for a deputy chairman of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis.

A district court in Simferopol ruled on February 11 that Ahtem Ciygoz must stay in pretrial detention until May 19.

Ciygoz was arrested on January 29 for what investigators said was organizing "mass disorder" in the regional capital, Simferopol, last year.

He was sent to pretrial detention until February 19.

Another Crimean Tatar activist, Iskender Kantemirov, was placed in two-month pretrial detention on February 8 on the same charge. 

Crimean Tatars and other pro-Ukrainian activists clashed with pro-Russian activists near the parliament on February 26 last year.

The next day, armed men in unmarked uniforms seized the parliament building.

Russia annexed Crimea in March after a referendum condemned by Kyiv and the West as illegitimate. 

Since then, activists and rights groups say Crimean Tatars have faced discrimination, pressure, and abuse for their opposition to the annexation.

Several have been banned from Crimea and others are missing.