The Rostov Court: How They Make Terrorists Of The Crimean Tatars
7 July, 2016

Explain, please, how you’ve come to conclusion that the accused people are members of “Hizb ut-Takhrir”? – By hearsay.

Ukrainian journalists have become witnesses to such interrogation in the North Caucasus district military court this week. The hearing of the so-called case “Hizb ut-Takhrir” case began on the 1st of June in Rostov-on-Don.  However, the lawyers haven’t heard any facts yet that prove the connection of the accused with the "Islamic Party of Liberation", an international Islamic political party founded in 1953.
Their defendants are Crimean Muslims Ruslan Zeytullayev, Rustem Vaitov Yuri (Nuri) Primov and Ferat Sayfullayev. They were taken from Crimea to Rostov-on-Don in Russia when the trial began. The Crimean Tatars are accused of being connected with an organization called "Hizb ut-Tahrir".

Since 2003, this organization has been recognized as a terrorist one and banned in Russia. 10 years later, it was followed up with the new article in the Russian legislation "Organization of the terrorist activity and participation in it". In other words, now there is no need to prove that the detainees committed any acts of violence or were keeping weapons. Confirmation by the witness that the suspect is connected with the organization is enough.

Actually, the prosecution is working now to confirm the connection of the suspects with "Hizb ut-Tahrir". The court has already questioned the prosecution’s witnesses. In particular, nobody saw or heard the ‘secret witness.’ However, the majority of the questioned, according to the lawyer of the Crimean Tatars Emile Kurbedinov, have actually turned into witnesses of the defense. Because they either didn’t confirm the preliminary evidence given to the investigator, or took their words against detained Crimean Muslims back.

Hromadske journalists went to Rostov-on-Don to find out what the "Crimean Quartet" is tried for, to look at the atmosphere of the trial and the interrogation of witnesses, and to see what conditions Ruslan Zeytullayev, Rustem Vaitov Yuri (Nuri) Primov and Ferat Sayfullayev are kept in at the Rostov detention center. By the way, it is the same center where other Ukrainian prisoners like Oleg Sentsov, Gennady Kolchenko and Oleksandr Afanasyev are awaiting their verdicts.