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Police In Crimea Arrest Crimean Tatars After Home Raids

Russian authorities that control Crimea have arrested at least nine Crimean Tatars after a series of raids on their homes on the Russian-occupied peninsula.

Prosecutors in the Russia-imposed government, said four had been charged with belonging to Hizb ut-Tahrir, a Sunni political organization that is banned across Central Asia and Russia.

The detentions come after 12 homes of Crimean Tatars were raided by police in the city of Yalta and the town of Bakhchesaray earlier on February 11.

Reports say some of the individuals whose homes were targeted had met with a delegation from the Council of Europe that recently visited Crimea to assess the human rights situation there.

Emil Kurbedinov, a local human rights activist, accused the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) of fabricating new "terrorist cases" against Crimean Tatars.

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014 after a referendum dismissed in the West as bogus.

Since Russia's land grab, fundamental freedoms have "deteriorated radically" for many in Crimea, especially for pro-Ukrainian activists, journalists and the Crimean Tatar community.

That was the finding of a report issued in September 2015 by the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities.

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