The Southern District Military Court of Russia has sentenced Ernes Seytosmanov, a defendant in the case of the Crimean Muslims, to 18 years in a maximum security colony, the public association Crimean Solidarity has said.
"The court sentenced activist Ernes Seytosmanov to 18 years in prison in a maximum security colony, the first four of which Ernes will spend in prison - the most difficult conditions. Then, Seytosmanov will be sent to a correctional colony. After his release, the court imposed a year and a half of restrictions on him," the NGO noted.
The restrictions include the need to report to the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) two times a month, not to leave his home from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., not to change his place of residence and work without notifying the FSIN, not to attend public events.
The defence intends to appeal against the verdict of the Southern District Military Court.
It should be noted that Ernest Seytosmanov was tried for organising the activities of the Islamic political party Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is banned in Russia, but freely operates in Ukraine and other countries.
On 5 December 2019, the Southern District Military Court in Rostov-on-Don sentenced his brother Enver Seytosmanov to 17 years in a maximum security prison.
"Terrorism is a particularly serious article. In Islam, it is a crime that is categorically condemned. As a Muslim, I am categorically against terrorism, and the article I am charged with is considered slander. As for the definition of the word 'terrorism', it is intimidation. If we consider the entire case against me, there was not a single case when I intimidated anyone, I did not bring any harm to society or people," Ernes Seytosmanov said in court, delivering his final speech.
Continuing his speech, he spoke about the search of his house and reminded the court that dozens of other Crimean residents were, in his opinion, subjected to illegal persecution.
Prior to his arrest, Ernes Seytosmanov attended the trials of Crimean Tatars in Crimea and in Rostov-on-Don, helped the families of political prisoners with social and domestic issues, and participated in public initiatives.
The search of Ernes Seytosmanov's house began at 4 a.m. on 9 February 2022. FSB officers then came to several addresses: in Bakhchysaray District - to the house of Crimean Solidarity activist Ansar Osmanov, in Simferopol District - to Ametkhan Abdulvapov, in Bilohirsk District - to the house of Marlen Mustafayev and to Simferopol's Balaklavskyy district.
All of them were charged under Article 205.5 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation ("organisation of a terrorist organisation and participation in the activities of a terrorist organisation"), as well as under Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation ("preparation for the violent seizure of power by an organised group by prior conspiracy").
In February, Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets reported that Russia illegally detained 116 Crimean Tatars on its territory. Illegal searches continue in temporarily occupied Crimea.