On August 19th, a man was arrested in Crimea by Russia’s security service – FSB, on suspicions of being a member of the Ukrainain militant group “Mufti Noman Chelebidzhikhan battalion”. This Kiev-funded militant group mostly consists of Crimean Tatars and is deployed on the border between Ukraine and Crimea.
The individual left for Ukraine back in 2016 to join the group, where he studied the use of weapons and participated in joint border patrols with the state border service of Ukraine.
Subsequently, the suspect returned to Crimea and did not notify law enforcement agencies about the termination of participation in the illegal armed group, continuing to contact its members.
“It has been established that the suspect left for the territory of Ukraine in 2016, where he joined the ranks of an illegal armed formation <…>, as part of which he was trained in handling firearms. His functional duties also included guarding the location of the battalion, assisting the State Border Service of Ukraine in joint patrols of the border zone, checking persons and vehicles at checkpoints,” the FSB statement said.
On August 19th, FSB officers carried out investigative actions at the place of residence of the detainee. He faces up to 15 years in prison.
A video of the arrest was also published.
Around a month earlier, on July 22nd, a 55-year-old man was sentenced to 8 years in prison for being a member of the battalion.
Nariman Mezhmedinov had joined the Noman Chelebidzhikhan battalion of Crimean Tatar volunteers in 2016.
According to the FSB, Mezhmedinov had actively participated for four months during 2016 in the battalion’s activities, namely blocking roads near a checkpoint and searching vehicles coming in and out of Crimea in 2016.
These are two separate arrests, despite the men carrying out similar activities in 2016.
MSM, and specifically the US state-funded Radio Free Liberty claimed that the man was sentenced to jail for simply being part of a “resistance group.”
In February 2020, another member of an illegal armed group was arrested in Crimea. He was charged under a similar article. Like the detainee on August 19, he joined the battalion in 2016.
Then the FSB said that the man had the opportunity to stop participating in the organization, but he did not turn to law enforcement agencies for help, thereby continuing his illegal activities.
The battalion was established back in 2015 by the Former Deputy Minister of Crimea Lenur Islyamov. He and his group tried to block the passage of trucks into the republic. He is now on the federal wanted list. A criminal case has been opened against Islyamov in Russia.
The battalion was assisted by similar volunteer formations such as the Azov battalion, the Righter Sector and other Nazi-infested formations.
They also participated in the hostilities against the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics in Eastern Ukraine.
It is also known that the battalion receives humanitarian aid from Turkey in the form of money and uniforms and has connections with some Turkish right-wing organizations.
One would presume that the Tatars in Crimea would support the activities of a group that is “clearly” on their side, but one would be mistaken.
In January 2016, the Islamic clerics of Crimea issued a fatwa prohibiting Muslims of the peninsula from joining Islyamov’s battalion. They also expressed outrage at the use of the name of the first mufti of Muslims of Crimea, Lithuania, Poland and Belarus, Noman Chelebidzhikhan (1885-1918), in the name of the battalion.
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