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“The Scariest Day Of Our Lives:” The Hizb-Ut-Tahir Crackdown On Crimean Tatars


In the last five years, Russian security forces have arrested dozens of Crimean Tatars on charges of terrorism. But international rights watchdogs say the accusations are intended to silence criticism. To find out more, Current Time spoke with some of the families of those arrested.

In the last five years, Russian security forces have arrested dozens of Crimean Tatars on charges of terrorism in Crimea. Prosecutors claim that they are all connected with Hizb ut-Tahrir, an international, pan-Islamist political organization that Russia, China, and various predominantly Muslim countries classify as a terrorist group.

Before Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, however, such crackdowns did not occur here. International human-rights watchdogs assert that Moscow is using the charges as a way of intimidating and silencing those critical of its takeover of the peninsula.

The connection between the accused, who maintain their innocence, and Hizb ut-Tahrir remains unclear. At one December 2018 trial, prosecutors’ evidence consisted of three unnamed witnesses and a covert Federal Security Service recording of a meeting, the Russian human-rights group Memorial reported.

That did not prevent judges, however, from sentencing the accused to prison terms of up to 17 years.

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