Following the occupation of the Crimea by the Russian Federation in 2014, dozens of people were literally left without home. One of the first steps of the occupation authorities made in the struggle against disloyal people was the ban on the entry to the peninsula for Crimean Tatar leaders and activists.
May 3, 2014, the leader of the Crimean Tatar people Mustafa Dzhemilev was not allowed to enter the Crimea. The second person who was banned from entering the territory of the peninsula was the Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people Refat Chubarov. On August 10 of the same year, the occupiers at the administrative border stopped the public figure, Adviser to the Chairman of the Mejlis Ismet Yuksel who was returning to the Crimea from a family trip to Turkey. And in January 2015, under the decision of the Armenian court, a human rights activist, veteran of the Crimean Tatar National Movement Sinaver Kadyrov was expelled from Crimea.
All the four cases went through the Russian courts and then forwarded to the European Court of Human Rights.
During a panel discussion on "Bans on entry to the Homeland: Crimean Tatars vs Russia in the European Court of Human Rights", held in Kyiv, Ismet Yuksel and Sinaver Kadyrov spoke about the specifics and absurdity of their cases. The moderator of the discussion was the Director of the news agency "Crimean News" Gayana Yuksel.
The period following the ban for Ismet Yuksel became a legal struggle for returning to the Crimea. The Adviser to the Chairman of the Mejlis noted that he began the trial in the Crimea, despite the illegitimacy of the occupation courts:
“This decision was not taken in the Crimea, so we applied to court in Moscow. It's a very strange thing, and it's strange that it was classified. I could not get access due to a ban, as well as my lawyer. So I still do not know why I am banned from entering. Nevertheless, we appealed to all authorities in Russia, and now the case is in the ECHR. It has already been accepted. We are waiting for consideration.”
Sinaver Kadyrov said that the reason for his expulsion from the Crimea was that, being a citizen of Ukraine, he allegedly violated the terms of staying on the territory of the Russian Federation.
“Upon my arrival in Kyiv, I contacted the Ukrainian Helsinki Group. My case was quite interesting for human rights activists because it is somewhat similar to the case of Oleg Sentsov. I was recognized a foreign citizen and expelled from the Crimea, and Sentsov, on the contrary, was recognized a citizen of the Russian Federation and thus can not be transferred to Ukraine."
The case of Sinaver Kadyrov has already been registered with the ECHR and is pending.
The ban on entering the Crimea is a criminal rule that the Russian government uses to suppress resistance, the member of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people Gayana Yuksel believes. After some first high profile ban cases and initiated proceedings, a lot of activists, journalists and all citizens of Ukraine, whose presence troubled the occupation authorities, were "unofficially" prohibited from entering Crimea as well.