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Member Of Crimean Tatar Mejlis Beaten By 'Self-Defense' Group

Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemilev was met by supporters when he attempted to enter Crimea on May 3. Blocking his entry has increased tensions on the peninsula.
A member of the Crimean Tatars' self-governing body, the Mejlis, has been beaten by a so-called self-defense group in Crimea.

The head of the Mejlis department for external ties, Ali Hamzin, told RFE/RL that unknown individuals in military uniforms stopped Abduraman Egiz in Simferopol on May 6 and demanded identification.

Egiz refused to produce his documents, demanding police be present at the site.

The men, who called themselves members of the "Crimean self-defense force" attacked Egiz and beat him, and searched his vehicle.

When they discovered that Egiz was a member of Mejlis, they let him go.

Hamzin says the incident will be reported to the police.

He added that violent attacks against Crimean Tatars will likely intensify in coming days ahead of the 70th anniversary of the Crimean Tatars' deportation to Central Asia to be marked on May 18.

The Mejlis has refused to recognize the annexation of Ukraine's Crimea by Moscow in March.

On May 4, Natalya Poklonskaya, Crimea's de facto prosecutor-general, warned Mejlis leader Refat Chubarov that his organization will be liquidated if it engages in "extremist" activities.

The move came amid protests by local Tatars over the authorities’ refusal to allow their veteran leader, Mustafa Dzhemilev, into the region on May 3.

Dzhemilev, a legendary Soviet-era dissident and Ukrainian lawmaker, told RFE/RL on May 5 that Crimean Tatars will continue to fight for their rights by peaceful means.