A meeting to discuss the situation in the Russian-occupied peninsula called "Fighting for Human Rights in the Crimea" is scheduled for late January in Washington. It is cosponsored by the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, PEN America, the US and Ukraine Foundation, as well as the Center for Eurasian, Russian and Eastern European Studies at Georgetown University. Speakers who will talk about the issue include former Crimean political prisoner Oleg Sentsov, PEN Ukraine President Andriy Kurkov and Maria Tomak from the Human Rights Media Initiative.
On January 16, at a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna, the US mission again expressed its concern about the systematic violations of human rights in Crimea by the Russian authorities, and called on the occupiers to stop violating OSCE principles. In his speech, Ambassador James Gilmore referred to a report by the United Nations Monitoring Mission for Human Rights in Ukraine that included interviews with released political prisoners, who reported on torture, threats of sexual violence, asphyxiation and beatings.
"We fear that the dozens of remaining Ukrainian political prisoners that Russia holds may be experiencing the same severe mistreatment. We call on Russia to release them and return them to their homes and families,” the diplomat said.
Ukrainian Oleg Prikhodko, who is accused of terrorism by the Russian repressive machine in the Crimea for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression in protest against the occupation, was mentioned separately. The US reiterated its support for Ukraine's territorial integrity within recognized borders, including territorial waters, and emphasized the non-recognition of annexation of the peninsula by Russia, as well as the continued sanctions against the aggressor country.
Also recently, the human rights organization Human Right Watch mentioned the situation in the Crimea in its World Report 2020, which stated that dozens of Crimean Tatars, most of whom were activists of the Crimean Solidarity initiative, were imprisoned for alleged involvement in Hizb ut-Tahrir, which Russia considers terrorist, although the organization is not banned in Ukraine, that is, in Crimea as well. Human rights defenders note that none of the detainees has been charged with any act of violence, but in addition, four people have been tortured. The report separately mentioned Crimean Tatar activist Edem Bekirov, who was released only as a result of the September exchange of prisoners between Ukraine and Russia, that is, two months after the relevant order of the European Court of Human Rights (due to Bekirov's grave illness), as well as lawyer Emil Kurbedinov, who was expelled from the Crimean Bar Association for the protection of "extremists" and even imprisoned for several days for publication about "Hizb ut-Tahrir" of 2013.