Week-ending 11 December 2020
On 10 December 2020 the Supreme Court of Crimea sentenced Lenur Islyamov, owner of ATR Crimean Tatar Television and vice-president of the World Congress of Crimean Tatars, to 19 years in prison in absentia. He was convicted on charges of organising sabotage, creating an illegal armed group and publicly calling for Russia’s territorial integrity to be violated.
RFE/RL, Wednesday, 11 December 2020: The Russian-controlled Supreme Court in Crimea has sentenced the owner of the ATR Crimean Tatar television channel, Lenur Islyamov, to 19 years in prison in absentia. The court in the Russia-annexed Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula found Islyamov guilty on December 10 of organizing sabotage, creating an illegal armed group, and publicly calling for Russia’s territorial integrity to be violated. He was sentenced the same day. Islyamov’s lawyer, Nikolai Polozov, told RFE/RL that his client does not recognize the court’s legitimacy. “My client considers Crimea a temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine and therefore considers all institutions of the occupying authorities to be illegal and he does not recognize their jurisdiction,” Polozov said, adding that the court’s ruling will be appealed.
Human Rights in Ukraine, Friday, 11 December 2020: The Russian-occupation ‘Crimean High Court’ has passed a 19-year sentence against Lenur Islyamov, Vice President of the World Congress of Crimean Tatars and the Director of TV ATR. The charges were of ‘sabotage’, ‘separatism’ and creating ‘an illegal armed formation’, with the first unproven, the second about Islyamov’s opposition to Russia’s illegal occupation of Crimea and the third about a formation that is neither armed nor illegal. Since the ‘trial’ was in absentia and on manifestly political charges, it is next to impossible that any democratic country would extradite Islyamov to Russia. The court’, however, also allowed a civic suit brought by organizations claiming to be aggrieved parties, and ordered Islyamov to pay 50 million roubles, which will presumably be used as excuse for plundering Islyamov’s business interests. Officially none of the charges had any link with the Crimean Tatar TV channel ATR of which Islyamov has owned the major part since 2001, and which he now heads. Russia set about destroying ATR and other Crimean Tatar media within a year of its invasion and annexation of Crimea. The channel is now forced to broadcast, in Ukrainian, Crimean Tatar and Russia, from mainland Ukraine, but remains one of the main sources of reliable information about all that Russia is trying to conceal.