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A Russian military court in Rostov-on-Don sentenced four Crimean Tatars to lengthy prison terms on "terrorism" charges, the human rights group Crimean Solidarity announced on May 31.
Jebbar Bekirov was sentenced to 17 years in prison, while Rustem Murasov, Zavur Abdullaiev, and Rustem Tairov were sentenced to 12 years.
The four Crimean Tatars were detained in August 2021 by the Russian occupation authorities in Crimea in the so-called "second Sevastopol Hizb ut-Tahrir group" case.
Hizb ut-Tahrir, an Islamist group with a following among Crimean Tatars, is not banned in most European countries, but Russian authorities routinely jail members of the group for essentially peaceful activities, defining them as "terrorism."
"Unfounded, illegal sentence. These people are not criminals. What they did was absolutely good, they helped other families, came to the courts, supported them, they had their own position, they practiced their religion," said Emil Kurbedinov, a lawyer working with Crimean Solidarity.
Crimea has been under Russian occupation since 2014, and the Crimean Tatars who remained on the peninsula have faced regular persecution by occupation authorities.