Statement against persecution of lawyers and human rights defenders in occupied Crimea

We, the undersigned civil society organisations, are highly concerned at information published by the Russian media indicating that the Russian Ministry of Justice has called for Crimean human rights lawyer Emil Kurbedinov to be expelled from the de-facto Crimean Central Bar Association before March 2019.

We believe that this call is linked to his professional activity as well as his civic activism.

Possible disbarment will deprive Emil of the possibility to practice law and deprive Emil’s clients, who have been subjected to politically motivated persecution, of the effective assistance.

We call on international organisations and foreign governments:

  • To continue pressure on the  government of the Russian Federation to put a stop to the persecution of Crimean independent lawyer Emil Kurbedinov and other human rights lawyers and defenders;
  • To continue pressure on the Russian Federation to cease persecution of Crimean Solidarity and Ukrainian Cultural Center activists in occupied Crimea.
  • To condemn the use by Russia of its own “anti-terrorism and anti-extremism” legislation to  prosecute lawyers, human rights defenders and civil society activists in occupied Crimea.
  • To impose personal sanctions on persons involved in gross violations of human rights in  occupied Crimea, as well as on those directly involved in the obstruction of lawyers’ activities. In particular, impose personal sanctions against Russian Minister of Justice Alexandr Konovalov, the de facto Minister of Justice of the so-called Crimean Republic Oleg Shapovalov, representatives of the occupying law enforcement agencies, namely,  Andrei  Sushko, Federal Security Service,  and Ruslan Shambazov, Ministry of Interior, who are both  linked to the  persecution of Emil Kurbedinov, as well as other Ukrainian citizens, persecuted for political motives, as well as with the cases involving the alleged use of torture such as the cases of Renat Paralamov and Oleksander Kostenko.
  • To strengthen sectoral sanctions against the Russian Federation for systematic gross violations of human rights and war crimes in occupied Crimea.

Read the full statement here:  statement_kurbedinov.pdf


Association UMDPL (Ukraine) 

Belarusian Helsinki Committee (Belarus)

Bur Duino (Kyrgyzstan)

Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine) 

Center for Participation and Development (Georgia)

Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)

Citizens’ Watch (Russia)

Civil Assistance Committee (Russia)

Crimean Human Rights Group (Ukraine)

CrimeaSOS (Ukraine)

Crude Accountability (United States)

Euromaidan Press (Ukraine)

German Russian Exchange – DRA (Germany)

Helsinki Citizens' Assembly – Vanadzor (Armenia)

Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)

Human Rights Center (Azerbaijan)

Human Rights House Foundation (Norway)

Human Rights Information Center (Ukraine)

Human Rights Matter (Germany)

Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuania) (Switzerland)

IDP Women Association "Consent" (Georgia)

Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law (Kazakhstan)

KRF Public Alternative (Ukraine)

Legal Transformation Center (Belarus)

Macedonian Helsinki Committee (Macedonia)

Media Initiative for Human Rights (Ukraine)

Netherlands Helsinki Committee (The Netherlands)

People in Need (Czech Republic)

Polish Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)

Promo LEX (Moldova)

Public Association “Dignity” (Kazakhstan)

Public Verdict Foundation (Russia)

Regional Center for Human Rights (Ukraine)


The Georgian Centre for Psychosocial and Medical Rehabilitation of Torture Victims - GCRT (Georgia)

The Human Rights Center “Viasna” (Belarus)

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee (Norway)

The Swedish OSCE Network (Sweden)

Truth Hounds (Ukraine/Georgia)

Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union (Ukraine)


Photo: © James Walsh, CC BY-NC 2.0,


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