Occupying Authorities Raid Mosque In Crimea, Loading Over 100 Worshippers Onto Buses

May 6, 2016

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Occupying Authorities Raid Mosque In Crimea, Loading Over 100 Worshippers Onto Buses

The occupying Russian authorities in Crimea conducted an armed raid on a mosque this morning, detaining more than 100 worshippers.

Lawyer Emil Kurbedinov wrote on Facebook that between 30 and 50 armed men descended on the mosque, in the village of Molodezhnoye, in the Simferopol district, after Jum’ah prayers today.

The detainees were loaded onto buses and driven off before being allowed off and told they would all have to present themselves at a police station.

Video of the incident has appeared online:

The masked gunmen appear to be wearing the camouflage uniform of the Russian Interior Ministry’s OMON riot police troops.

There has been no official statement from the occupying authorities so far.

RFE/RL’s Crimean service, Krym Realii, reports that the Spiritual Administration of the Muslims of Crimea and Sevastopol (DUMK) has confirmed that they are aware of the situation and are preparing a statement.

The DUMK press office said that the security forces conducted an inspection of documents, but did not, as has been the case since Russian forces took over the peninsula two years ago, inform or coordinate their actions with the Administration.

Today’s incident is just the latest repression against the Muslim population of Crimea, with Crimean Tatars having been subjected to repeated raids, arrests and prosecutions. There have also been numerous disappearances, with some young Tatar men found later dead, with signs of torture.

Last month, the Mejlis, the representative body of Crimean Tatars, was banned as an “extremist organisation.”

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Russia Officially Bans Crimean Tatar Mejlis

A Russian-run court in the annexed Crimean Peninsula has branded the executive council for the region's Tatar minority an extremist organization and ordered it banned. The April 26 ruling by the region's Supreme Court was the latest in a series of moves restricting the activities of Crimean Tatars, many of whom have strongly resisted Russia's efforts to consolidate authority over the Ukrainian region.

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May 06, 2016 14:28 (GMT)

Journalists and pro-Ukrainian activists have also been subjected to repressions by the Russian authorities.

— Pierre Vaux