Russia to Crimean Tartars: You’re Either With Us, Or Against Us
Crimea’s prosecutor, Natalia Poklonskaya, has formally warned the Crimean Tartar leaders that they face criminal prosecution if they persists in organizing protests against regional government policies, and their chief civil organization, the Mejlis, will be banned.
Refat Chubarov, the head of the Crimean Tartar Mejlis, was summoned to the prosecutor’s office on May 4 after Tatars staged several rallies across Crimea in support of Mustafa Jemilev, a Tartar community leader who was exiled in late April.
One of the May 3 rallies occurred near a checkpoint on Crimea’s border with Ukraine at Armyansk, where Jemilev was at that moment attempting to reenter Crimea. The rallies were peaceful and no violence or property damage occurred. Nevertheless, the authorities denied Jemilev entry and charged Chubarov and a number of other Crimean Tatars who participated in the rallies with violating Russia’s law on assembly.
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