Russian authorities jail 76-year-old with Parkinson's for holding placard

Russian authorities jail 76-year-old with Parkinson's for holding placard

Protests have previously been held about the treatment of Crimean Tatars

Friday, August 11, 2017

Russian authorities in Crimea have jailed a 76-year-old man with Parkinson's disease for holding a placard about the treatment of Tatars, a Turkic ethnic group.

Server Karametov was holding a hand-written placard outside the Supreme Court of Crimea to support Akhtem Choygoz who is a prisoner of conscience, according to Amnesty International.

Choygoz, whose name was written on the placard, is the deputy leader of the Mejlis, a representative body for Crimean Tatars. However, the group is proscribed as an extremist organisation in Russia.

He was detained for what Amnesty International described as "trumped-up" charges of the organisation of “mass disturbances” in February 2014.

Karametov, a Crimean Tatar, was arrested on August 8. Footage has emerged showing the elderly man, who was on his own, being pulled away by four police officers and put in a police car.

Yesterday (August 10) Karametov was found guilty of resisting police officer's orders at the Zheleznodorozhny District Court in Simferopol. He was then handed a ten-day “administrative detention” sentence for the protest, as well as a fine of 10,000 roubles (£128) which nearly amounts to a month's average retirement benefit in Crimea.

But whilst the man was in court an ambulance had to be called as he was taken ill and lawyers have warned that the detention may mean he does not receive the medication he needs.

Amnesty International is calling for Karametov to be released immediately. The executive director for Ukraine, Oksana Pokalchuk​, has said: “Arresting a frail senior citizen and throwing him behind bars for holding a placard is the latest grotesque example of the Russian authorities’ incessant crackdown on peaceful activism by the Crimean Tatar community."