The prison sentences against Crimean Tatar Leader Ilmi Umerov and Deputy Chair of Mejlis, Akhtem Chyigoz, Deputy Chair of the Mejlis and journalist Mykola Semena have been denounced by the European Parliament.

According to the MEPs, these convictions are serious violations of their human rights and should be reversed. They called for the immediate and unconditional release of Umerov and Chyigoz and for all charges against Semena to be dropped.

MEPs said the “reality of repression and the application of legislation on extremism, terrorism and separatism has led to a severe deterioration in the human rights situation on the Crimean Peninsula and to the widespread violation of freedom of speech and association… forced imposition of Russian citizenship has become systematic and fundamental freedoms are not guaranteed” there.

As regards the annexation of Crimea by Russia, the MEPs said this is “illegal and in violation of international law and European agreements” signed by both Russia and Ukraine”.