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Mejilis of Crimean Tatars banned as extremist organization

Any actions of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people in Russia will be assessed as illegal, Crimean Prosecutor Natalya Poklonskaya says

SIMFEROPOL, April 26. /TASS/. The Supreme Court of Crimea has sustained on Tuesday the claim of the republic’s Prosecutor Natalya Poklonskaya for banning the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, recognizing the organization’s activity as extremist. The ruling was announced by head of the panel of judges Natalya Terentyeva, TASS reports from the courtroom.

Any actions of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people in Russia will be assessed as illegal, Crimean Prosecutor Natalya Poklonskaya said on Tuesday, commenting on the republic’s Supreme Court decision to ban the Mejlis.

"The non-government organization Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people has now been recognized as extremist. That is, its activity is banned in the Russian Federation in general. Any actions will be assessed as illegal. If the Mejlis members or its representatives conduct any activity contrary to the court ruling, they will be brought to responsibility," Poklonskaya told reporters.

She said that the decision of the Prosecutor’s Office to suspend the organization’s activity is in effect since April 13 and the Russian Justice Ministry has already put this organization in the list of banned.

The lawsuit on banning the Mejlis had been filed by Crimean Prosecutor Natalya Poklonskaya on February 15, 2016. The extremism of the Mejlis’ activity could be proven by various unauthorized actions of the Mejlis’ members, including organized mass disorders in front of the Crimean parliament on February 26, 2014. The case files included more than 600 pages of evidence proving the organization’s involvement in extremist activity. On Tuesday, Poklonskaya reiterated in pleadings that the Mejlis "incites discord and enmity in Crimea."

About 20 supporters of the organization that are awaiting the end of the judicial proceedings have gathered at the building of the Crimean Supreme Court. The expect Mejlis Deputy Chairman Nariman Dzhelyalov to come out to them to pass the court's decision.

Security measures at the court building have been stepped up: the entrance to the building is fenced off and police squads and court enforcement officers are on duty there.

The Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status on the Crimean Peninsula, where most residents are Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of authorities brought to power amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February 2014.

Crimea and Sevastopol adopted declarations of independence on March 11, 2014. They held a referendum on March 16, 2014, in which 96.77% of Crimeans and 95.6% of Sevastopol voters chose to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the reunification deals March 18, 2014.

Work to integrate the Crimean Peninsula into Russia’s economic, financial, credit, legal, state power, military conscription and infrastructure systems has been actively underway since Crimea acceded to the Russian Federation.