Emil Kurbedinov Wins 2017 Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk

On 26 May 2017, Irish NGO Front Line Defenders named Emil Kurbedinov the 2017 Laureate of its annual Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk.

Emil Kurbedinov is among few independent lawyers in Crimea who defend political prisoners. Moreover, as a lawyer Emil takes part in searches and interrogations, and provides legal assistance to victims of human rights violations in Crimea. He also takes part in international fora reporting on the situation in Crimea. 

In January 2017, Emil Kurbedinov was arrested by Russian security services while driving with his colleague Mr. Edem Semedliaev to participate as lawyers in a search of the house of a Crimean Tatar activist, Mr. Seyran Saliev. As Frontline Defenders mention: "masked representatives from Crimea's Centre for Counteracting Extremism detained him and took him to a local directorate of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) for interrogation. By a decision of the district court Emil was found guilty of “propagandising for extremist organisations” and sentenced to ten days in detention.

Finding out about Emil's arrest members of Civic Solidarity Platform prepared a joint statement calling to free Emil and urging the Russian Federation to stop illegal practice against lawyers and human rights defenders. In this statement CSP members were also asking foreign governments and international organizations to take all the measures possible to defend lawyers and human rights defenders in Crimea. 

Accepting the Award, Emil said: "When we defend political prisoners and persecuted activists, we are going against a system in which there’s no hope of a fair trial. Winning an acquittal for my clients is almost impossible – but what I can do is show them that despite the risks, I will not abandon them".

In addition to Emil Kurbedinov from Ukraine, the finalists for the 2017 Award include activists from Vietnam, South Africa, Kuwait and Nicaragua.

Some information is taken from the article "Crimean Tatar Activist Wins 2017 Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk" on the website of Front Line Defenders. You can read the full article at: https://www.frontlinedefenders.org 

You can also watch "Emil Kurbedinov - 2017 Award Finalist Video"  here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=daMHwFOu96k