Server Mustafaev


businessman, civic activist, coordinator of the Crimean Solidarity movement


Emil Kurbedinov, Sergey Legostov


  • 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

Prospective sentence:

from 10 to 20 years of imprisonment

Mailing address:

Center for Civil Liberties, 9-G Baseina Str., Apt. 25, Kyiv 01024, Ukraine (detained in SIZO-1, Simferopol)

days in custody

A father of four, Server Mustafaev was detained on 21 May 2018 in the town of Bakhchysarai by the Russian security services. Edem Smailov, another Crimean Tatar activist, was also arrested on the same day. Searches were carried out in their homes by FSB officers during which lawyers were not allowed to their clients. As a result of searches, mobile telephones and other technical devices were confiscated. During the search Server Mustafaev’s father, Rustem Mustafaev, was grabbed and thrown to the floor by the Russian policemen. He filed a complaint to the office of the prosecutor to denounce these actions. 

Server Mustafaev has been involved in the Crimean Solidarity civic movement since its emergence. He was one of the first to stream the searches, arrests and court hearings of the Crimean Tatars on social media. His youngest daughter was only three months old at the time of his arrest. He is now kept in pre-trial detention in the Simferopol detention centre.

On 22 May 2018 the lawyer Ayder Azamatov stated that de facto investigators merged the cases of Mustafaev and Smailov with the so-called Bakhchysarai group of the Hizb ut-Tahrir case (the group detained on October 2017). Server Mustafayev has undergone a compulsory examination in the psychiatric hospital.

Exculpatory evidence

Both Server Mustafaev and Edem Smailov are accused of participation 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 of the Crimean Solidarity civic movement that was created in 2016 to provide support to the families of Crimean political prisoners.

Hizb ut-Tahrir is considered in Russia a “terrorist” organization in accordance to the 2003 decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation 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 which practice Islam.  

The Crimean Solidarity movement considers Server Mustafaev’s arrest a form of “persecution” and an “intimidation of the society as a whole.” The statement published on the day of Mustafaev’s and Smailov’s arrests also explains 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.” 

Many organizations demanded the release of Server Mustafaev. For example, the international human rights organization Frontline Defenders made a public statement demanding the release of Server Mustafayev. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine protested against the illegal detention of Mustafaev and Smailov

Tortures and pressure

On 13 December 2018, Server Mustafaev was transferred to the psychiatric hospital, where he stayed for a month to undergo a forced psychiatric examination. Sergey Legostov, the lawyer of Mustafayev commented on it thus:

«The investigator first appointed the outpatient a psychiatric examination, during which the doctors worked during the day and ask questions. But Server considers himself healthy and refused contact with the doctors. Because of this, he was transferred to the hospital for a more thorough examination.»


Read more: FrontLine Defenders, Arrest of Server Mustafaev

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Comment regarding the persecution of activists of “Crimean Solidarity”