- 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 10, 2018
from 10 to 20 years imprisonment
Center for Civil Liberties, 9-G Baseina Str., Apt. 25, Kyiv 01024, Ukraine (detained in SIZO-1, Simferopol)
days in custody
32-year-old Enver Seytosmanov was arrested together with his brother Ernes in the village of Tylove (Sevastopol’s Balaklava district) on 10 May 2018. Six men in balaclavas not wearing any insignia carried out searches in his house and confiscated several books, a phone and a tablet. Their mother’s home was also searched. Russian security officers took her and her two sons to the FSB’s office in Sevastopol. Ernes and his mother were released few hours later with the status of witnesses while Enver Seytosmanov was charged with “participation in a terrorist organisation”, being accused of taking part in the “Hizb ut-Tahrir Sevastopol cell” together with Nuri Primov -Seytosmanov’s cousin-, Ruslan Zeytullaev, Rustem Vaitov and Ferat Sayfullaev.
Since the search and detention Enver is kept under pre-trial detention in SIZO-1, Simferopol.
Primov, Zeytullaev, Vaitov and Sayfullaev were arrested at the beginning of 2015. Zeytullaev, who is accused of being the “organizer” of the “Sevastopol cell”, was sentenced in July 2017 to 15 years in prison by the Supreme Court of Russia. Primov, Vaitov and Sayfullaev were all three sentenced to five years of imprisonment.
Zeytullaev, Sayfullaev, Primov and Vaitov – who are accused by FSB officers of taking part with Seytosmanov in the “Hizb ut-Tahrir Sevastopol cell” – are all four considered “political prisoners” by the Memorial Human Rights Centre. There has been a substantial lack of evidence to support the charges. The investigation is mostly based on the testimony of a former SBU officer who later joined Russian security forces and who is believed to have personal interests in this case (linked with a land dispute he had with Zeytullaev and Sayfullaev prior to the annexation of Crimea).
As in other cases the court hearings regarding the extension of Seytosmanov’s pre-trial detention were not transparent. The audience was barred from entering the courtroom.
While in detention, Zeytullaev refused to testify against Seytosmanov even though Russian security representatives threatened to open a new case against him. His lawyer was not present to ensure his defense.
Under the international law of occupation which applies to Russian authorities in annexed Crimea, the occupant has limited legislative and administrative powers. It has to respect the laws already in force and doesn’t have the right to substantially modify it by imposing its own legislation. Prosecutions against alleged members of Hizb ut-Tahrir which is banned in Russia but considered legal in Ukraine should therefore be considered unlawful.
Since Crimea’s annexation, Russian anti-extremist legislation has been frequently used to justify political persecution, especially against Crimean Tatars. The ban imposed by the Russian Supreme Court in 2003 on Hizb ut-Tahrir, labelling it as a “terrorist” organisation, has also been widely criticized as it lacks evidence to prove the involvement of the group in preparation or perpetration of terrorist acts.
There has been no report of torture used against Seytosmanov. However, his lawyer Sergey Legostov has declared that the health of his client has deteriorated while in pre-trial detention.