Sat 06 March 2021:
Russia on Friday extended a ban on entry to Crimea until 2034 for Mustafa Dzhemilev, national leader of the Crimean Tatar people and Ukrainian deputy.
Russian authorities initially barred Dzhemilev from entering Crimea for five years in March 2014 after Moscow illegally annexed Crimea.
However, a decision by the Federal Security Service (FSB) in 2019 to extend the ban became public on March 5 during Dzhemilev’s ongoing trial — being held in absentia — in Russian-controlled Crimea.
Prosecutors at the ongoing trial in the Crimean city of Armyansk have accused Dzhemilev of attempting to illegally enter Crimea, negligent possession of a firearm, and the illegal possession of ammunition.
The 77-year-old Ukrainian lawmaker has rejected all of the charges, calling them politically motivated and linked to his official rejection of Russia’s control over Crimea.
Attorney Nikolay Polozov announced on Facebook that during a hearing in Armyansk in Crimea, the Federal Security Service (FSB) extended the ban on Dzhemilev’s entry to the peninsula for 15 years.
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“The Decision has no meaning in practice. Because in 2034, both me and the occupation will cease to exist,” Dzhemilev told Anadolu Agency.
“I think their intention was not to bring my body there. It is similar to the Soviet-era practice about prisoners. When a prisoner died in the prison, they did not give his body until his term ended. This decision is the same,” he added.
Russian forces entered the Crimean Peninsula in February 2014, with Russian President Vladimir Putin formally dividing the region into two separate federal subjects of the Russian Federation the following month.
Crimea’s ethnic Tatars have faced persecution since Russia’s 2014 takeover of the peninsula, a situation Turkey has decried.
Turkey and the US, as well as the UN General Assembly, view the annexation as illegal.
Dzhemilev was the chairman of the Crimean Tatar’s self-governing assembly — the Mejlis — which was banned by pro-Moscow representatives in Crimea after the annexation.
Dzhemilev was a leading human rights activist during the Soviet era and served six jail sentences in Soviet prison camps from 1966 to 1986.
He is also known for going on a 303-day hunger strike — the longest in the history of the Soviet human rights movement.
Mustafa Dzhemilev and President of the Crimean Tatar National Assembly, Refat Cubarov, were banned from entering the peninsula after the annexation.
Crimean Tatar National Assembly was branded an “extremist organization” and its activities were banned.
Some 2,500 Crimean Tatars who had direct ties to the Assembly and everyone who had relations with it became members of the “extremist organization.”
Due to pressure from the Russian administration, thousands of Crimean Tatars had to leave the peninsula.
Detentions of Crimean Tatar’s homes, mosques and kindergartens continue on charges of being members of a “terrorist organization.”
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