14:28 Sep. 2, 2016
Ilmi Umerov forcibly placed into psychiatric clinic in occupied Crimea
On September 2, Ukrainian activists rallied in front of Russia's Embassy in Kyiv to demonstrate their support of Crimean Tatar leader, Mejlis Deputy Chairman Ilmi Umerov (illegally detained and forcibly placed into mental ward by Russian-occupation authorities in Crimea).
The activists holding posters #StopKillingIlmiUmerov took part in the campaign entitled Plant Trees, Don't Put People in Prison! (it is a pun, the word 'plant' in Ukrainian may also mean 'send someone to prison').
The organizers sought to remind the world that more than 30 Ukrainian political prisoners still suffered detention or served prison sentences in Russia and the annexed Black Sea peninsula.
"We are sure that one should plant trees instead of sending civilians to jail. That is why we symbolically planted a tree near the Russian embassy in Kyiv to remind the world that dozens of (Ukrainian) prisoners detained by Kremlin orders and especially the so-called "punitive psychiatry" imposed on Ilmi Umerov ", read the campaign statement.
The #StopKillingIlmiUmerov rallies already took place in Kyiv, the US, Berlin, Warsaw, and Brussels.
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, but much later was taken to the hospital. The judge announced Umerov must undergo forensic psychiatric evaluation.
Thus, Umerov was forcibly placed into a mental ward for forensic medical assessment. According to his 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 'a resurrection of Stalin-era regime".
Russia's FSB (Federal Security Service) intends to hold Umerov in the mental ward until September 7.
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".