civiс journalist, administrator of a boiler house
- part 2 of art.205.2 of the Criminal Code (public appeals for terrorism made on the Internet)
March 22, 2018
Released: 21 September 2019
On 22 March 2018, at around 6 a.m., Russian security forces carried out searches in Memedeminov’s house located in the village of Kholmivka, Bakhchysarai district. He was thrown to the floor while his wife and children were put in another room. Telephones and equipment were seized and Memedeminov was taken to FSB’s premises in Simferopol for questioning. The next day, a Russian-controlled court placed him in pre-trial detention. On 28 June 2018 he was forcibly taken to the psychiatric hospital for an examination within the investigation. Since his detention he is being kept under pre-trial detention in SIZO-1 in Simferopol.
He is accused of having made “public appeals on the Internet for carrying out terrorist activities” based on videos posted on his Youtube channel before the Russian annexation of Crimea. In two of these videos, he reports about the events organised by the organisation “Hizb ut-Tahrir” in Simferopol. Hizb ut-Tahrir is considered in Russia a “terrorist” organization 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.
In February 2016 when a human rights activist Emir-Usein Kuku and three other Crimean Tatars were arrested, the house of Nariman was also searched. In July 2017 Memedeminov was also fined 10,000 roubles for his alleged “involvement in an unauthorised meeting” for standing near the house of Seidamet Mustafaev where searches was carried out. Indeed, Memedeminov, together with other Crimean activists, took part in the reporting and online streaming of searches and repressive measures targeting the Crimean Tatar community.
In this case, the appeal to terrorism is incriminated not because of the real incitement of the terrorist acts, but because of the mentioning Hizb ut-Tahrir. The organization has been recognized terrorist in Russia in 2003.
Moreover, the videos on Memedeminov’s Youtube channel were posted before Russia’s annexation of Crimea, falling therefore under the Ukrainian jurisdiction.
Memedeminov’s lawyer also filed a complaint considering that the rights of his clients were violated on the day of the searches carried out by FSB officers. Indeed, no explanation was given to justify the searches while interrogation protocols don’t mention Memedeminov’s Ukrainian citizenship. Moreover, his placement under psychiatric examination is considered a type of psychological pressure and humiliation used by investigators as it is not a mandatory procedure for cases falling under article 205 of the Russian Criminal Code.
In a letter sent from prison to his wife, Nariman Memedeminov writes that:
“<…> the harassment and arrest of activists, particularly of civic journalists, is an attempt to combat dissent in any forms. Counter-terrorist and anti-extremist legislation of the Russian Federation, is aimed, mainly, at suppressing anyone who does not think and does not speak as dictated by the “line of authorities,” even if this means the whole population.”
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- KHPG: Jailed Crimean Tatar civic journalist subjected to punitive psychiatry for innocuous YouTube videos from 2013