Refat Alimov and Arsen Jeparov, two Crimean Tatars arrested in the village of Krasnokamenka on April 18, have been charged with membership in the Hizbut Tahrir organization, Refat Chubarov, Mejlis Chairman, wrote on his Facebook page.

“Soon, Natalya Poklonskaya, a person calling herself ‘Crimea’s Prosecutor’, made the following statement: ‘Refat Alimov and Arsen Jeparov, residents of the village of Krasnokamenka, have been detained by Russian police due to their alleged membership in the Hizb ut-Tahrir, an organization banned in Russia,” Chubarov wrote.

According to Chubarov, the two will soon join eight Crimean Tatars charged with membership in the Hizb ut-Tahrir organization.

“It is obvious that Refat Alimov and Arsen Jeparov will soon join eight Crimean Tatars arrested on the same trumped up charges. They are: Ruslan Zeitullayev (arrested on January 23, 2015), Nuri Primov (arrested on January 23, 2015), Rustem Vaitov (arrested on January 23, 2015), Ferat Saifullayev (arrested on April 2, 2015), Emir-Usein Kuku, Enver Bekirov, Muslim Aliyev and Vadim Siruk (arrested on February 11, 2016),” Refat Chubarov wrote.  

It was reported earlier that 35 Crimean Tatars were detained by armed men in the village of Pionerskoye of the Simferopol district on April 1, 2016. After being taken to the anti-extremism center for the so-called ‘preventative talk’, all of the men had their fingerprints, DNA samples and photographs taken, following which they were interrogated.

On April 11, 2016, searches and arrests were conducted in the homes of 12 Crimean Tatars. Since 2014, Eight Muslims charged with membership in the Hizb ut-Tahrir organization have been held in a pre-trial detention center in Simferopol.  

International observers have been recording a huge number of human rights abuses, as well as lack of freedom of speech and expression in Crimea. They have also been reporting opponents of the occupation regime being put under surveillance and applied pressure against.