This afternoon in Crimea, Russian counter extremism police detained two women leaders of Crimea Solidarity, an independent group that speaks out for people arrested for opposing Russia’s occupation of the Crimean peninsula. It’s the latest of the authorities’ many steps to try to silence the group.
The women are Lutfie Zudiyeva and Mumine Saliyeva, both Crimean Tatars, and their activism with Crimea Solidarity is to support people arrested or prosecuted on politically motivated grounds. They help organize legal support for detainees, provide financial and social support for their families, and live stream court proceedings, police searches, and raids.
Zudiyeva and Saliyeva are among the most vocal at Crimea Solidarity. When I went to Crimea earlier this month to look into the arrests of Crimean Tatars, Zudiyeva told me she believes the arrests aimed to intimidate and discredit Crimea Solidarity. But the arrests, she said, have “not led to a drop in our activities. Quite the contrary.”
Zudiyeva’s lawyer told my colleague that the authorities are charging both women with “propaganda using extremist symbols” – punishable by a fine and up to 15 days behind bars. Police didn’t let their lawyers meet with them in custody. Both women were released, pending court hearings.
See full story here.