News from Europe: UK urges Russia to release Crimean Tatar leader and return Crimea to Ukraine

18:27 Aug. 31, 2016

UK urges Russia to release Crimean Tatar leader and return Crimea to Ukraine

In this photo taken on Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, a Crimean Tatar leader, Ilmi Umerov, listens for a journalist's question during an interview to the Associated Press in Simferopol, Crimea (AP Photo)

Umerov was forcibly placed into mental ward for forensic medical assessment

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland urges Russia to release a Crimean Tatar leader, Mejlis Deputy Chairman Ilmi Umerov, and return the occupied Crimea to Ukraine.

The British Embassy to Ukraine published a relevant statement on August 31.

Read also Deputy head of Crimean Tatars' Mejlis to be put in mental ward

"The detention and treatment of the Deputy Chairman of Mejlis of the Crimea Tatar People, Ilmi Umerov, is a cause of deep concern. Umerov's forced detention and examination in a psychiatric unit, along with reports of his deteriorating health are disturbing. We call on the Russian authorities to respect international human rights standards; to release Umerov without delay; and to allow him access to the medical care that he needs.

It is clear that human rights standards are not being met in Crimea and we continue to call on the Russian Federation to allow immediate, unfettered access to all international human rights monitoring bodies. We do not, and will not, recognise Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea.

Russia must return Crimea to Ukraine", the British diplomats say.

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BACKGROUND: On February 26, 2014, Umerov along with other Crimean Tatars organised a demonstration against the occupation of the peninsula. Later Russian Federal Security Service initiated a criminal case against him.

On May 12, 58-year-old Ilmi Umerov was arrested. Last week Umerov felt sick during a court session, later he was taken to the hospital. The judge announced Umerov must undergo forensic psychiatric evaluation.

Thus, Umerov was forcibly placed into mental ward for forensic medical assessment. According to the lawyers, the conditions in the hospital are harmful for Umerov. The lawyers say without urgent medical treatment their client could die. Umerov suffers from diabetes and heart disease.

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko called Umerov's detention in psychiatric clinic 'resurrection of Stalin-era regime".

Read also Russia resurrects Soviet repression, punitive psychiatry in occupied Crimea

Russia's FSB (Federal Security Service) intends to hold Umerov in mental ward until September 7.

Earlier, the US and European Union called on Russia to immediately free Umerov.

Crimea was seized from Ukraine by Russia in February 2014. Ukraine's Parliament (Verkhovna Rada) officially declared February 20, 2014, a beginning of Russia's illegal occupation of Crimea and Sevastopol. Numerous world leaders strongly condemned the illegal annexation and launched a range of economic sanctions against Russia.

Despite the overall resentment, Moscow rejects the notion "occupation", naming its deeds instead "a renewal of historical justice".

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