Emil Kurbedinov’s Case Hearing Starts in Simferopol
A crowd of supporters gathered out of a Simferopol court to support Kurbedinov
A crowd gathered outside a Simferopol court, in Russian occupied Crimea to support the prominent lawyer.
“We’ve come from the Dzhankoyskiy district in order to show our solidarity with our friend, our brother, and defender Emil Kurbedinov,” said one of the people in the crowd.
Russian occupation authorities detained Emil Kurbedinov when he was on his way to work. He has been charged for allegedly posting extremist elements on his Facebook some five years ago. Kurbedinov is a prominent Crimean Tatar lawyer, he is known for defending political prisoners. He spearheaded the defense of Volodymyr Balukh, Ilmi Umerov, Akhtem Chyihoz, among others. This is not the first time he has been detained.
”We view this as another example of pressure on lawyers and activists in Crimea, who are defending their rights as well as the rights of their people,” said another supporter of Kurbedinov.
One of Kurbedinov’s clients is Renat Paralamov. About one year ago, Renat was found beaten at a bus station after he was detained a day earlier by the Russian security forces.
“He’s not just a lawyer for Crimean Muslims, he is part of the people. Everyone is waiting for him. He is welcome at any Crimean Tatar house. He is like a brother,” Paralamov said.
When Russian forces seized Ukrainain ships and captured 24 sailors in the Kerch Strait on Nov. 25, Kurbedinov volunteered to defend the them in court.
In 2017, Kurbedinov received the International Front Line Defenders Award. It is given to human rights activists for risking their lives to protect others.
A demonstration was organized near the courthouse during the hearing. People carried placards reading “You are our public defender.”
Kurbedinov finally left the court with his lawyers and thanks everyone for their support. Kurbedinov says he is being prosecuted for helping Crimean Tatars and captured Ukrainian sailors.
“It’s all because of my work, because of the work of the activists, with whom we have been cooperating for years. Because of the work of the people whom we support, because of political prisoners and so on. This is the reason. Also, I recently started working as a lawyer of captured Ukrainian sailor Bohdan Nebylytsia. And because of all this, the authorities decided to keep me out of all these processes for 15 days, I suppose,” Kurbedinov said.
Kurbedinov was represented by six lawyers and six public defenders. The bailiffs claimed that Russia’s security service, the FSB, gave an order not to allow anyone else inside.
“Obviously, they are pressuring the most famous lawyer. They are pressuring the human rights movement as a whole and all our unconquerable people. I think that the bravery demonstrated today by the lawyers, human rights activists and just regular people, who came here to support Emil, says a lot about all of this,” lawyer Lilia Gemedzhi said.