(QHA) -

Since Crimea joined Russia in March, eighteen Crimean Tatars had been missing. Leader of Crimean Tatar people Mustafa Jemilev announced this at Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) session.

According to Jemilev, 3 people were missing last week, 15 people were missing earlier. Their whereabouts remains unknown.

Jemilev noted, that Crimean Tatars are being persecuted in Crimea, adding that many of them were arrested without any legal grounds. Local police has conducted 40 searches in the homes of Crimean Tatars on formal grounds.

To recall, Crimean Prime Minister announced creation of contact group to investigate the issues of kidnapping people in Crimea, as he visited Crimean city of Belogorsk Oct 1, where two Crimean Tatars-- Islyam Dzhepparov and Dzhevdet Islyamov-- were obtained Sept 27. Their whereabouts remain unknown.