Last summer, Crimean Tatar political activist Ilmi Umerov was receiving treatment for high blood pressure in a Simferopol hospital when FSB officers showed up one day and hauled him off to a psychiatric facility for an evaluation.
Umerov, a former deputy chairman of the Mejlis, the Crimean Tatar representative body, had been a vocal critic of Russia’s annexation of Crimea. In May 2016, the FSB charged him with criminal separatism after he declared, in Tatar: “We must force Russia to withdraw from Crimea.”
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Madeline Roache is a London-based freelance journalist focusing on human rights conditions in the former Soviet Union. She recently completed an MA in Russian politics at University College London.