Crimean Court Again Postpones Verdict On Crimean Tatars Charged For Protest

A court in the Russia-annexed peninsula of Crimea has for the third time postponed a ruling on five Crimean Tatars charged with organizing an illegal demonstration four years ago.

The Central District Court in Simferopol gave no explanation on June 18 for putting off the hearing until the following day.

The five men -- Ali Asanov, Mustafa Degermendzhy, Eskendir Kantemirov, Eskendir Emirvaliev, and Arsen Yunusov -- were among a group who staged a protest outside the regional legislature in February 2014.

The demonstration occurred as Russia moved to seize control of the Black Sea region following street protests in the Ukrainian capital that forced the country’s pro-Russian president to flee.

The five were arrested and charged in late 2015.

Akhtem Chiygoz, the well-known leader in the Crimean Tatars’ local assembly, was also charged for his participation in the protest.

He was sentenced to eight years in prison in September 2017, but weeks later he was taken to Turkey and freed. He later moved to Kyiv.

Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in March 2014 was vocally opposed by the Crimea Tatar population, who make up a sizable minority of the peninsula.