construction worker, civic activist
- part 2 of Art. 205.5 of the Russian Criminal Code (participation in a terrorist organisation, namely the local cell of the Islamic Party of Liberation “Hizb ut-Tahrir”)
May 21, 2018
from 10 to 20 years of imprisonment
Center for Civil Liberties, 9-G Baseina Str., Apt. 25, Kyiv 01024, Ukraine (detained in SIZO-1, Simferopol)
days in custody
A father of three, Edem Smailov was arrested on 21 May 2018 in the village of Dolynne, Bakhchysarai district by Russian security officers. Server Mustafaev, another Crimean Tatar activist and the coordinator of the Crimean Solidarity civic movement, was also arrested on the same day. Searches were carried out in their homes by FSB during which lawyers were not allowed to their clients. The telephones and other technical devices were confiscated as a result of the searches. Edem Smailov’s wife was not allowed into their house during the search.
Edem Smailov is known as a practicing Muslim who has been taking active part in the religious rites and celebrations in Bakhchysarai for the past fifteen years. He also took part in the activities of Crimean Solidarity, a civic movement that emerged in 2016 to provide support to the families of Crimean political prisoners.
Smailov celebrated his 50th birthday the next day of his arrest, on 22 May 2018. He is now in in the remand prison of Simferopol.
Both Edem Smailov and Server Mustafaev are accused of participating in a Crimean local cell of the Islamic Party of Liberation (Hizb ut-Tahrir). Their cases have been merged with the one of six other Crimean Tatars who were arrested in October 2017 for their alleged involvement in the Hizb-ut-Tahrir organisation: Ernest Ametov, Memet Belyalov, Tymur Ibrahimov, Server Zekiryaev, Seyran Saliev and Suleyman (Marlen) Asanov. All six were activists from the Crimean Solidarity civic movement.
Hizb ut-Tahrir is considered in Russia a “terrorist” organization according to the 2003 decision of Supreme court of Russia despite the lack of evidence concerning its involvement in preparation or perpetration of terrorist acts. It is a transnational movement that presents itself as non-violent and that is considered legal in Ukraine and tolerated in other countries.
The lawyers of the accused within the Hizb ut-Tahrir cases consider that their clients are persecuted because of their religious beliefs. Within this case there are persecuted Crimean Tatars, Ukrainians, Russians, Tajiks, Azerbaijani and Crimeans of other ethnic groups, practicing Islam.
In a statement published on the day of Mustafaev’s and Smailov’s arrests, the Crimean solidarity movement denounced their arrests as a form of “persecution” and an “intimidation of the society as a whole” considering that:
“The purpose of Russian law enforcement agencies’ ‘work’ in Crimea is to suppress any type of civic activity aimed at covering the aggression carried out by the FSB and the police against members of the crimean society. Today in Crimea, any active citizen who is ready to publicly voice his positions is under danger of pressure of the Russian law enforcement agencies, be it harassment, intimidation, searches, or arrests.”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine protested against the illegal detention of Mustafayev and Smailov and demanded Russia to release the prisoners.