Human rights: Crimean Tatars, Mohammed Ramadan, missing publishers in Hong Kong 

Press Releases 
Plenary session 

Parliament condemns the unprecedented levels of human rights abuses perpetrated against Crimean Tatars, calls on the Bahrain to grant Mohammed Ramadan a royal pardon or to commute his death sentence, and for the immediate safe release of the five missing book publishers in Hong Kong, in three resolutions voted on Thursday.

Human rights situation in Crimea, in particular of the Crimean Tatars

MEPs condemn the unprecedented levels of human rights abuses perpetrated against Crimean residents, most notably the Tatars, an indigenous people of Crimea, and the severe restrictions on the freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly.

They point out that the Russian Federation, as an occupying power, has a responsibility to ensure the safety of the whole population and should, together with the de facto local authorities, investigate effectively, impartially and transparently all cases of disappearances, torture and human rights abuses by the police and paramilitary forces active in the Crimean peninsula since February 2014.

The resolution reiterates Parliament’s severe condemnation of Russia’s illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula.

Bahrain: the case of Mohammed Ramadan

The European Parliament calls on Bahrain, and in particular His Majesty Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, to grant Mohammed Ramadan a royal pardon or to commute his sentence. Mr Ramadan, a  32-year-old airport security guard, was arrested by the Bahraini authorities for allegedly taking part in a bombing in Al Dair in February 2014 and sentenced to death in December 2014. Bahrain’s anti-terrorism law was used to justify the death penalty.

Parliament firmly condemns the continuing use of torture by the security forces against prisoners and the use of Bahrain’s anti-terrorism laws to punish citizens for their political beliefs and convictions and to prevent them from pursuing political activities. Human rights defenders must be protected and allowed to conduct their work without hindrance, intimidation or harassment, adds the resolution.

The case of the missing book publishers in Hong Kong

MEPs express grave concern about the disappearance of five Hong Kong resident booksellers who sold literary works critical of Beijing. Lui Bo, Gui Minhai, Zhang Zhiping, Lin Rongji and Lee Po have been missing for four months. In January 2016, it was confirmed that two of them, who are EU citizens - Gui Minhai, a Swedish national and Lee Po, a British national – had been detained in mainland China.

The resolution calls for their immediate safe release. It also calls for the immediate release of all other persons arbitrarily arrested for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and publication in Hong Kong, including the three other booksellers. The Chinese government should stop suppressing the free flow of information, including by restricting the use of the internet, MEPs add.