Kurtseit Abdullayev, who took part in a peaceful action March 9 has been sentenced to 20 hours community work by a district court in Simferopol. 

He was judged for the Ukrainian flag with the words “Crimea is Ukraine” which he held at the gathering March 9 in Simferopol marking the 201st anniversary of Ukarinian poet Taras Shevchenko birth.

Commenting on the court’s decision, Abdullayev repeated that he has no intention of “sweeping the streets”, and said “he’d rather sit out a 15-day jail term, at least he’ll get free food”.

 “I had the right to hold the flag of this country because Shevchenko is a Ukrainian poet.  I will lodge an appeal, and think it won’t end with Crimea, we’ll go to Moscow”- he said.

To recall, three other participants of the same gathering: Leonid Kuzmin; Alexander Kravchenko and Veldar Shukurdzhiyev were sentenced on March 13 to 40 hours community work.  However the police had claimed, and the court agreed, that the Ukrainian flag and blue and yellow ribbons constituted ‘prohibited symbols’.   

All three men were shortly afterwards formally warned about ‘extremist behaviour’.