Activism, Europe, Side Feature

US Embassy Calls on Russia to Free Six Crimeans Convicted in the Hizb ut Tahrir Case: Why the Sudden Spark of Empathic Interest?

The U.S. Embassy has called on the Russian Federation to immediately free six men from Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula who have recently been convicted in the Hizb ut-Tahrir case. “We strongly condemn the politically motivated sentencing of six Crimean Tatars to heavy prison terms.  We call on Russia to release these six individuals and all other Ukrainian political prisoners immediately,” the U.S. Embassy said on Twitter on November 13. The Southern District Military Court in the city of Rostov-on-Don on November 12 handed lengthy prison terms to six men from Ukraine’s Crimea, five of whom are Crimean Tatars, for being members of the banned Hizb ut-Tahrir Islamic group. Muslim Aliyev was sentenced to 19 years, Enver Bekirov to 18 years, Vadym Syruk and a prominent human rights defender Emir-Huseyn Kuku to 12 years, Refat Alimov to eight years, and Arsen Dzhepparov to seven years in prison. [Source: UNIAN]


Amnesty International blasted the Russian authorities for showing “remarkable cruelty,” saying the six men were sentenced to lengthy prison terms on “trumped-up” charges after a “sham” trial. [UNIAN]

Sharp statements made by the US embassy officials and Amnesty International for the six Crimean men convicted in Russia. Political prisoners and prisoners of conscience hardly make major headlines, as this is a favored tactic by dictator regimes to silence opposition.

Egypt, Russia, and other tyrants in Central Asia lock up critics for dozens of years to silence them and to make others fear speaking out or else suffer the same fate. In a surprising twist of events, we see news of the US Embassy speak up against the harsh Russian sentence over the six men from Crimea in Russia. Since when the sudden empathy towards those who are accused of links with Hizb ut Tahrir, especially since this Hizb is banned in many Muslim countries?

For the US officials to call upon Russian authorities to release these individuals implies it is acutely concerned over the freedom of expression and freedom to gather all the while silent over the plight and media blackouts of the thousands of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience throughout the Middle East and Northern Africa. Yet it is suspicious to say the least.

The Crimeans’ appeal has been officially rejected by the Russian authorities. “All complaints by the court were rejected. All the main arguments that we have repeatedly stated were not taken into account,” the lawyer noted. (

Here the US officials are trying to show the Russian authorities in a negative scope of them denying any value to human rights which of course they are notorious for. We still see the remnants of the brutal Soviet court and prison policies with no sign of changing to the better despite pressure from international human rights organizations. The US plays a foul game all the while employing same tactics in their agent regimes.  It proves to the advantage of both the US and the Ukraine to call out Russia and their brutal extrajudicial practices. Ukraine is in conflict with Russia and has sought US guidance and firm support throughout the past decade to try to break away from Russian dominance and annexation as evident from the various revolutions that occurred. The Russian authorities rejected any appeal and carried out its procedures without filching and the sad part is the men held until February 5 will be in harsh conditions until the Russian courts hand down their severe long prison sentences. Political activists have and will continue to upset tyrant regimes who use their iron hands to maim and silence them but it proves that human will is much stronger to reject oppression no matter the consequences.


Manal Bader