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Kremlin not confirming pardon for Crimean Tatar leaders

October 26, 13:23 UTC+3 MOSCOW

According to the lawyer, Akhtem Chiygoz and Ilmi Umerov were released and departed for Turkey

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MOSCOW, October 26. /TASS/. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has neither confirmed nor denied that Akhtem Chiygoz and Ilmi Umerov, leaders of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis, an extremist organization outlawed in Russia, have been pardoned.

"I can neither confirm nor deny this," Peskov told reporters on Thursday.

Umerov and Chiygoz, who are deputy chairs of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis, were released and departed for Turkey, their lawyer Nikolai Polozov told TASS on Wednesday.

Chiygoz was sentenced to 8 years in colony as part of a case into mass riots outside the Crimean parliament in February 2014. The Supreme Court of Crimea found that during a rally by supporters of the Mejlis, Chiygoz staged mass riots, in which two people were killed and 79 others were injured.

Umerov was sentenced to 2 years in colony. According to investigators, Umerov, who stayed on the territory of Ukraine in March 2016, publicly voiced calls in a live broadcast of the Ukrainian TV Channel ATR for the need to violate Russia’s territorial integrity. Umerov’s words were disseminated in the Internet and were the cause for launching criminal proceedings against him.

Mejlis of the Crimean Tatars is an extremist organization outlawed in Russia. The decision on recognizing the Mejlis as an extremist group was made by the Crimean Supreme Court in mid-February 2016 upon the demand of Natalya Poklonskaya, a Russian MP who formerly served as Crimea’s prosecutor. Last September, Russia’s Supreme Court upheld the decision.

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