Crimean Tatar leader jailed for stirring anti-Russia protests

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 11, 2017 4:38 AM

SIMFEROPOL, Crimea (Reuters) - A court in Crimea handed down a prison sentence of eight years on Monday to a Crimean Tatar leader, Ahtem Chiygos, found guilty of stirring up mass disorder, his lawyer told Reuters.

In 2014, Chiygos led crowds of Crimean Tatars in street protests against Russia's annexation of the peninsula from Ukraine. The disorder led to people being killed, the court said.

His lawyer Nikolai Polozov said after the sentence that he considered it unlawful. He told Reuters Television that Chiygos was a citizen of Ukraine, where the criminal code contains no punishment for similar actions.

The defense for Chiygos will seek his extradition to Ukraine, he added.

The Crimean Tatars are indigenous Sunni Muslims of Turkic origin who suffered mass deportation under Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. They make up more than 12 percent of Crimea's largely ethnic Russian population of about 2 million, and are among the strongest critics of the 2014 annexation by Moscow.

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(Writing by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)