Crimea: YouTube must not cooperate with Russia’s persecution of activists

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13 Feb 2019
[International Secretariat]
Topic: Indigenous people Minority group

Responding to media reports that the Russian media regulator, Roskomnadzor, has ordered YouTube to remove a video about Crimean human rights defender and prisoner of conscience Emir-Usein Kuku, the Director of Amnesty International Ukraine Oksana Pokalchuk said:

 “YouTube must not cave to Russia’s unlawful demands and should play no part in the brutal repression of the Crimean Tatar community. Emir-Usein Kuku is a brave human rights defender who has already spent three years in prison for standing up for the rights of Crimean Tatars. His family continues to face intimidation and harassment at the hands of the Crimea de-facto authorities, and it will be another blow to them if YouTube deletes this video about his important work and his persecution.

“The Russian authorities’ persecution of Emir-Usein Kuku is emblematic of the wider crackdown on free speech which has played out since Russia occupied and illegally annexed Crimea. The authorities have eradicated all forms of dissent and thrown many Crimean Tatar activists in jail.  Now they are seeking to erase information about Emir-Usein Kuku, a human rights activist who defended others.

“Youtube should uphold its responsibilities according to international human rights standards and push back on the Russian government’s censorship demands. YouTube’s stated company values include protecting freedom of expression and freedom of information and we call on them to uphold these values today.”

Emir-Usein Kuku, a member of the indigenous Crimean Tatar community in Crimea, was arrested on 16 February 2016, alongside five co-defendants who are standing trial for alleged membership of Hizb ut-Tahrir, an Islamic movement banned in Russia since 2003. Emir-Usein Kuku and the co-defendants deny membership of the organisation which, besides, is not banned in Ukraine. The Russian authorities have failed to present any evidence suggesting Emir-Usein Kuku or his co-defendants have planned any violent acts or participated in any recognisable criminal activities.

7 February 2019