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Moscow Police Detain Activists In Red Square For Protesting Crackdown On Crimean Tatars

Russian police have detained seven activists who were protesting in Moscow's Red Square against the treatment of Crimean Tatars in Ukraine's Russian-occupied region of Crimea.

The protesters on July 10 held signs saying "The fight against terrorism in Crimea is a fight against dissent," and "Our children are not terrorists."

Several other protesters who attended the gathering were forced by police to leave.

The protest was staged a day before hearings by Russia's Supreme Court into the appeals of four Crimean Tatars who were sentenced to prison terms of between nine and 17 years for being members of the Hizb ut-Tahrir Islamic group.

That group was banned in Russia after Kremlin authorities deemed it to be a "terrorist" organization.

It is not banned in Ukraine.

But Russia has imposed its own laws on the Crimean Peninsula since Russian military forces seized the territory from Ukraine and Moscow illegally annexed the region in early 2014 .

In June, a court in Russia sentenced five Crimean Tatars to prison terms ranging from 12 to 17 years after finding them guilty of being members of Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Also in June, eight other Crimean Tatars were arrested by Russian-installed authorities in Crimea and charged with belonging to Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Since Russian forces occupied Crimea in late February2014, Russia-installed authorities have prosecuted dozens of Crimean Tatars on charges of belonging to Hizb ut-Tahrir.

In March and April alone, Russia's Federal Security Service detained 24 Crimean Tatars on suspicion of being members of the group following a wave of similar house-to-house searches.

Rights groups and Western governments have denounced what they describe as a campaign of repression by the Russian-imposed authorities against Crimean Tatars and others who have spoken out against Moscow's military seizure and occupation of the peninsula.

With reporting by RFE/RL's Russian Service and Dozhd TV
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