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Crimean Tatars Suspected Of Terrorism Plead Not Guilty

Four Crimean Tatars suspected of terrorism have pleaded not guilty at their trial in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don.

The suspects rejected the charges of being members of the banned Hizb ut-Tahrir organization at the North Caucasus regional military court on June1.

The four men were detained in Crimea in January-April.

Four other Crimean Tatars were detained on May 12 on suspicion of being members of Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Russia has been heavily criticized by international rights groups and Western governments for its treatment of Crimea's indigenous Turkic-speaking people since Moscow annexed the peninsula in March 2014.

Arrests, disappearances, and killings of Crimean Tatars have been reported.

Crimea's Moscow-backed de facto authorities are currently looking for Crimean Tatar activist Ervin Ibragimov, who disappeared on May 24.