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Imprisoned Crimean Tatar Allowed To See Dying Mother, Lawyer Says

Akhtem Chiygoz has been detained since January 2015.
Akhtem Chiygoz has been detained since January 2015.

Authorities in the annexed Ukrainian region of Crimea have allowed a leader of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis to see his dying mother.

Akhtem Chiygoz's lawyer, Nikolai Polozov, wrote on Twitter on June 20 that his client was brought to the city of Bakhchisaray to see his mother.

On June 15, the Russian-installed High Court of Crimea rejected Chiygoz's request to see his mother, who is reportedly dying of cancer. The decision sparked an outcry from Crimean Tatar activists and human rights defenders.

Chiygoz, who has been held by the Russian authorities since January 2015, is charged with organizing an illegal demonstration in the Crimean capital of Simferopol in February 2014.

Lawyers say the accusations are absurd because the demonstration came before Moscow's illegal annexation of the Ukrainian region in March 2014 and that no Ukrainian laws were violated.

Chiygoz, 52, and two other Crimean Tatars charged in connection with the demonstration -- Ali Asanov and Mustafa Degermendzhy -- are recognized as political prisoners by Russia's Memorial human rights group.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and other international organizations have called for their release.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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