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U.K. Ambassador Judith Gough with President Petro Poroshenko (file photo)

U.K. Ambassador Judith Gough with President Petro Poroshenko (file photo)

British Ambassador to Ukraine Judith Gough has expressed concerns over a ruling by Russia's Supreme Court that upheld a ban on the Mejlis, the self-governing body of Crimean Tatars in Ukraine's occupied territory of Crimea.

British Ambassador to Ukraine Judith Gough has expressed concerns over a ruling by Russia's Supreme Court that upheld a ban on the Mejlis, the self-governing body of Crimean Tatars in Ukraine's occupied territory of Crimea.

Gough wrote on Twitter on September 30: "Concerned at Russian Supreme Court decision banning Crimean Tatar Mejlis in illegally annexed Crimea. Russia must respect human rights."

Russia's Supreme Court ruling on September 29 upheld the decision of a Moscow-backed Crimean court to ban the Mejlis.

Mejlis chairman Refat Chubarov told journalists in Kyiv on September 30 that the Russian court's ruling will be appealed at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Ukraine's Foreign Ministry condemned the Russian Supreme Court's ruling, urging Russia to immediately lift its ban and end what it called "the oppression of the Crimean Tatar community in Crimea."

On April 26, more than two years after Russia seized and illegally annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, Crimea's pro-Russian Supreme Court branded the Mejlis as an extremist organization and officially banned it.

The Mejlis had been legalized by the Ukrainian government in 1999.

With reporting by UNIAN

Kazakh Prison Guard Convicted Of Raping Inmate

  • RFE/RL's Kazakh Service

A court in Almaty has sentenced a former prison guard to nine years in jail in an inmate rape case.

A court in Almaty has sentenced a former prison guard to nine years in jail in an inmate rape case.

The Turksib District Court on September 30 found Ruslan Khakimov guilty of raping inmate Natalya Slekishina and sentenced him the same day.

Slekishina, who gave a birth to a girl while in custody, filed a lawsuit against several guards of an Almaty detention center, accusing them of gang-raping her.

A DNA test revealed that Khakimov had fathered the child. The other prison guards were not charged but were brought to the trial that started on August 11 as witnesses.

Khakimov pleaded not guilty.

Slekishina, who continues to serve her prison term, said she is satisfied with the court's decision but added that she will work on bringing to justice other prison guards who she says raped her.

Slekishina's lawyer, Aiman Omarova, called the court's ruling precedent-setting and said her client will file a lawsuit against the Kazakh government for failure to provide secure conditions in custody.

Omarova added that rape in custody by prison guards can be defined as torture, stressing that Kazakhstan has international obligations to prevent torture in its penitentiary system.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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