Suspended sentence in the Crimea for incitement to racial enmity

BBC Ukraine—

July 30, 2012

A Simferopol court has found one of the leaders of the pro-Russian Crimean Cossack Movement, Vladimir Tyunin guilty of deliberately inciting ethnic and religious enmity and handed down a 2.5 year suspended sentence.

The proceedings were initiated by a Prosecutor’s Office in Simferopo in February on charges of anti-Islamic and anti-Crimean Tatar calls at two rallies in the summer of 2010.

Around 30 supporters of Tyumin held a picket in protest outside the court.

Vladimir Tyunin who heads the Coordination Council of Russian Organizations of Sevastopol and Tavrida denies any guilt and calls the prosecution “political repression against Russian civic self-organization” He promises to appeal against the ruling.

The Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People are basically satisfied with the verdict though they feel that the sentence should have been harsher.  According to the Head of the Mejlis Secretariat Zair Smedlyaev, “this is the first warning for Tyunin. We hope that the sentence will be a lesson for him and that he’ll stop slinging mud at our ethnic groups. If not, we will try to get a harsher sentence for him”.

Vladimir Tyunin is a comrade in arms of another well-known Crimean Cossack Vitaly Khramov who was fined 3.5 thousand UAH in June 2011, and then in September deported from Ukraine and prohibited from returning in the next 5 years for inciting inter-ethnic enmity.  It also transpired that Khramov had illegally received Ukrainian citizenship while also holding Russian.

In July last year the District Administrative Court of the Crimea passed a ruling to deport from Ukraine for 5 years the first and last President of the Crimea Yury Meshkov. This was on the initiative of the SBU [Security Service] for “indirect calls to change the constitutional order in the Crimea.

In March 2011 two other pro-Russian activists received three year suspended sentences – the leader of the Sevastopol-Crimea-Russia movement, Valery Podyachy and Semen Klyuyev. Both were found guilty of encroaching upon the territorial integrity of Ukraine and the inviolability of its borders. They denied the charges and said that they planned to appeal it in international courts.