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Russian court sentences Crimean journalist Ernes Ametov to 11 years' imprisonment

Friday, 15 December 2023, 20:05
Russian court sentences Crimean journalist Ernes Ametov to 11 years' imprisonment

A Russian court of appeal has sentenced Ernes Ametov, a Crimean Tatar citizen journalist, to 11 years’ imprisonment in a penal colony for his alleged participation in Hizb ut-Tahrir [an international pan-Islamist and fundamentalist political organisation, banned in Russia and Russian-occupied Crimea, whose stated aim is to establish the Islamic caliphate, unite the Muslim community, and implement sharia globally – ed.].

Source: Crimean Solidarity

Details: Crimean Solidarity said Ametov’s wife, Eleonora Ametova, considers the sentence to be the Russian secret service’s revenge for Ametov’s refusal to perjure his coreligionists.

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Quote from Eleonora Ametova: "Ernes is a believer. He is faithful to God and his life principles. When he refused, they told him: ‘Then you’ll do time like everyone else’."

Details: According to Ernes himself, the court upheld the sentence inexplicably easily.

Quote from Ernes Ametov: "The court reminded me of a conveyor belt rolling out can lids, the trial was so perfect, eerily rapid, and coordinated to perfection - as if they were not deciding the fate of a person, just rolling out another can. [To the court, it was] nothing personal, just business."

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Background:

  • In October 2017, Russian security forces arrested six residents of Bakhchisarai, Crimea: Timur Ibragimov, Marlen Asanov, Memet Bielialov, Seiran Saliev, Server Zekiriaev and Ernes Ametov. Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) accused them of participating in Hizb ut-Tahrir, an organisation which is banned in Russia and Russian-occupied Crimea.
  • On 16 September 2020, a district military court in Moscow sentenced the members of a second Bakhchisarai group in the Hizb ut-Tahrir case to between 13 and 19 years’ imprisonment. Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly protested.
  • That same year Ametov was acquitted and released from the courtroom due to the lack of evidence of his guilt.
  • This was the first such instance in the Hizb ut-Tahrir cases not only in Crimea, but in Russia as well. But in March 2022, the court of appeal reviewed the ruling of the Southern District Military Court and submitted the case to be heard once again.
  • Ernes Ametov voluntarily attended a preliminary retrial hearing. The Prosecutor’s Office once again accused Ametov of participating in a terrorist organisation and an attempted coup d’état in Crimea. Ametov denied his involvement in these crimes.  
  • The EU responded to the lengthy prison sentences given to the defendants in the Hizb ut-Tahrir cases, calling for Russia to overturn the verdicts and immediately release all the illegally detained Ukrainian citizens.

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