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”)
October 11, 2017
from 10 to 20 years in prison
days in custody
A father of two, Ernes Ametov was arrested on 11 October 2017 together with five other Muslim Crimean Tatars in the town of Bakhchysarai. Searches were carried out in their homes by FSB officers during which lawyers were not allowed to communicate with their clients. Eight activists of the Crimean Solidarity movement were also detained and taken to the police station after they came to show their support to the arrested Crimean Tatars and to share on social networks the law enforcement representatives’ actions.
Since the detention, Ernes Ametov is kept under arrest in the pre-detention center. The most recent court decision was on February 8, the arrest was prolonged till 9 April 2019.
Ametov, together with Memet Belyalov, Server Zekiryaev, Tymur Ibrahimov and Seyran Saliev, is accused of participating in a local cell of the Islamic Party of Liberation (Hizb ut-Tahrir). According to the FSB investigators, the alleged organiser of this cell is Suleyman (Marlen) Asanov.
Hizb ut-Tahrir is considered in Russia a “terrorist” organization according to the 2003 decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation despite the lack of evidence of 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 fact that all six arrested Crimean Tatars have been active in the Crimean Solidarity civic movement that provides support to the families of the Сrimean political prisoners raises concerns that these charges are politically motivated.
Often, during the court hearings on their arrest, neither water nor food are provided to the defendants of the case, which lawyers say account to a form of torture. The court settings are usually closed to the public. The detainees are often placed in metal cages, which is a violation of Article 3 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Moreover, families are not allowed to visit the detainees in prison. The figurants of the case were also placed for over a month in a psychiatric hospital to undergo a psychiatric examination.
Ametov’s extension of his pre-trial detention despite the lack of proof against him could also be compared, according to the lawyer, to a form of torture:
“We consider pre-trial detention a certain type of pressure exercised on our clients rather than a safeguard against their possible escape. They won’t be able to escape nor to influence anyone under house arrest. But keeping them in the pre-trial detention facility has a fundamentally different aim as it is a terrible overcrowded place infested with fleas, lice, bedbugs. A place where is cold, that lacks water and where all diseases aggravate. All this can account to torture,” – Emil Kurbedinov.
During the court hearings in Rostov-on-Don in March 2020, the accused were given spoiled food packs which included pork, which Muslims are forbidden to eat. Because of this, the accused eat nearly nothing, as they spend all their day in court. Over the two years of being in pre-trial detention, the defendants’ health has suffered, according to lawyers, but their complaints are being disregarded.
- Crimean Human Rights Group, Situation Review, March 2018
- Krym.Realii, In Bakhchysarai there are searches in the houses of Crimean Tatars
- KHPG: Russia fights civic activists & Crimean Tatar solidarity with terrorism charges
- KHPG: Russia brings charges of ‘planning to violently seize power’ for Crimean Solidarity with political prisoners
- KHPG: Russia begins show trial of Crimean Tatar civic activists and journalists