Early in the morning of April 18, 2016, Russian security forces broke into the home of two young residents of the village Kyzyltash (Krasnokamenka) in the occupied Crimea. They conducted a search in the house of Refat Alimov and Arsen Dzhepparov, seized the equipment and took the men to the Federal Security Service.
"Two in the uniform, with covered faces, knocked out the gate, broke the lock. With them they brought two witnesses, one was drunk with a terrible stale! They raided the house, frightened little children ", - has told the media the sister of Arsen Dzhepparov Sussana.
And a few hours later Crimean Prosecutor Natalia Poklonskaya - controlled from behind the golden Kremlin’s door - announced that the detainees are suspected of the involvement in the organization "Hizb ut-Tahrir", recognized as being terroristic by the Russians. And, although young people are not the active members of this organization (in general, it is not even proven that they have something to do with "Hizb ut-Tahrir", because they have never mentioned it in the social networks), they are facing a real punishment of imprisonment.
"Plus two political prisoners to the shameful score of Russia!" - wrote about this event on his Facebook page the Crimean lawyer Emil’ Kurbedinov.
It is noteworthy that a bit earlier – on the 12th of February – four more people were arrested in Crimea and accused of the involvement in the activities of the same organization "Hizb ut-Tahrir." A year ago, four residents of Sevastopol region from the same organization were arrested. They will be soon sent to Russia for the process in the North Caucasus District Military Court.
To understand the situation better, we should explain that "Hizb ut-Tahrir" is an international Muslim political organization. Its officially declared aim is to establish an Islamic state (not to be confused with Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant!) and the Muslim way of life. In Ukraine, it has been operating for more than 20 years, and in Russia it was banned in 2003, although many human rights defenders pointed to the illegality of such a decision.
So, why is the Federal Security Service trying to fight off "Hizb ut-Tahrir" right now?
According to the Director of the Center for Middle East Studies Ihor Semivolos, "the arrests of those who have at least some involvement in the organization " Hizb ut-Tahrir ", are being sent as at least two important messages to the society by the Russian occupation authorities. The first: we are working, we are fighting with the Islamists and the radical Islamic underground. The second is the message to Crimean Tatars: look, we are all in control, and everyone can be in the shoes’ of the arrested."
According to the expert, "Hizb ut-Tahrir" is a very easy target for the Russian security services. This is due to the fact that the overwhelming majority of the Crimean people - not to mention the Russians - do not know anything about this organization. But its name sounds as if this union represented something terrible and dangerous.
The international information agency "Vector News" turned for the comments to the Head of the Information Office of the organization "Hizb ut-Tahrir" in Ukraine Fazyl Amzaev, and that's what he said:
- To date, in Russian Federation we can observe a strong and clearly expressed post-Soviet syndrome of the "rejection of the opposition". Therefore, today we can speak not so much about the persecution of specific organization "Hizb ut-Tahrir", but about the persecution of any religious, human rights or social organization, expressing its position on certain issues counter to the official Russian authorities. The proof of this is the fact that within the detention of two people which were declared as members of "Hizb ut-Tahrir" in Crimea, the Russian law enforcers conducted other searches in the houses of the journalists of “Krym.Realii”.
In other words, the special services of the Russian Federation do not try to figure out who stand on the opposite side, the main thing is that they oppose the official regime. The facts of the detentions of Crimean Tatars, referred to in the news, testify to an increased pressure on the opposition in any form. If a few years ago the Russian law enforcement officials limited the penalty for the members of "Hizb ut-Tahrir" to a probation period, now the possible punishment extends to the life imprisonment. And all this despite the fact, that our organization has never - and under no circumstances - been associated with any violent actions or acts.
As for the general attitude of the Russian Federation to the organization "Hizb ut-Tahrir" as a terroristic one, here I would say: "Look not on the words but on deeds." "Hizb ut-Tahrir" started its work in Ukraine in the mid-90s - and to this day there hasn’t been any criminal case with the involvement of a member of our organization accountable for any illegal activity.
That is, the whole time we were known in the Crimea as a non-violent ideological organization. Being so, it is clear to everyone how we should evaluate the declaration of Natalia Poklonskaya, who said that "this is a local terrorist cell that existed and was authorized since the times of Ukraine".
The representatives of the Russian security services say that our organization is allegedly "acting by means of militant propaganda combined with intolerance to other religions and purposeful work on making the split in society." I responsibly declare that it is a blatant lie, but those are really typical Russian methods.Translated by Maria Kryzhanovska