A Russian military court on Tuesday sentenced three Crimean Tatars, a Muslim minority indigenous to the Crimean Peninsula, to prison camp, news agency, Interfax, reported.
The three men were officially sentenced for membership of the Islamic terrorist organisations Hizb ut-Tahrir, but human rights activists and Ukraine slammed the ruling as being politically motivated.
The military court in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don found the men guilty of plotting to violently take power in Russia and recruiting supporters for their plan in Crimea, according to Interfax.
The men denied the charges and their lawyers said they would appeal the sentence.
Since the men’s detention in June 2019, demonstrators have expressed solidarity with them, accusing the Russian government of repressing the Crimean Tatar population.
Human rights organisations, Memorial, said the defendants were political prisoners.
Ukraine also criticized the ruling.
“The sentences are another proof of how the Russian justice system is being used, which has nothing to do with administration of justice,’’ Deputy Foreign Minister, Emine Dzhaparova, said.
Crimean Tatars have been skeptical towards Russia for historical reasons, following the 1944 deportation to today’s Uzbekistan of about 200,000 Crimean Tatars accused of cooperating with the Germans.
Many Tatars boycotted the 2014 referendum on Russia’s annexation of Crimea. (dpa/NAN)