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Russia Charges Crimean Tatar Official With Undermining Territorial Integrity

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has filed extremism charges against a leading Crimean Tatar official in the annexed Ukrainian region of Crimea.

Officials announced on January 30 that Ilma Umerov, deputy chairman of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis, the community’s top executive organ, has been charged with "actions aimed at violating the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation."

Umerov is in Kyiv-controlled Ukraine. In March 2016, he made televised statements calling for Russia to return Crimea, which it annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

Crimean Tatars have complained of human rights violations since the annexation. The Mejlis has been outlawed by the Russian authorities.

On January 27, a Russian court in the Crimean city of Simferopol accepted charges of "disseminating extremist information" against rights lawyer Emil Kurbedinov, who has served as defense attorney in numerous cases involving Crimean Tatars.

About 15 percent of the population of Crimea is Crimean Tatar.

With reporting by Interfax and TASS
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