Another attempt by the Russian Federation to illegally terminate the professional activities of independent lawyers in the temporarily occupied Crimea to prevent them from defending illegally imprisoned Ukrainian citizens – at the suit of the so-called “Crimean Bar Association”, the lawyers’ licenses of Lilya Gemedzhi and Rustem Kiamilev were revoked.
Now the lawyers cannot participate in criminal cases, defend their clients, represent them during pre-trial investigations and in courts. The “Chamber of Advocates” did this through a counterclaim when Ms. Hemedzhi and Mr. Kamilev tried to become members of this particular chamber, as they are engaged in the cases of political prisoners in the temporarily occupied Crimea. The lawyers tried to appeal the refusal to admit them to the chamber in court, but the Crimean “bar association” filed a lawsuit to revoke their licenses.
The pressure and persecution of independent lawyers defending Ukrainian citizens by the occupation administrations of Crimea has been going on for years, but has intensified significantly since the beginning of the full-scale invasion. Detentions and illegal arrests, attacks on the law office of Emil Kurbedinov, warnings about the inadmissibility of allegedly uncoordinated actions, regular obstruction of access to clients, discrediting campaigns against independent lawyers in the occupation media and other forms of pressure.
We ask journalists to cover the situations of pressure and obstruction of the work of independent lawyers in the temporarily occupied Crimea as widely as possible. Defense lawyers are one of the few last channels of communication and protection of political prisoners illegally detained by the Russian Federation in the occupation.
The only way to stop the lawlessness is to de-occupy Crimea, and until then, we must make every effort to fight for the rights of all our citizens!