MOSCOW – The chief prosecutor of Crimea has ordered a suspension of the council representing the region's Tatar ethnic minority.
Tatars make up about 15 percent of the region's nearly 2 million people and have been broadly opposed to Russia's annexation of the peninsula from Ukraine in 2014. Since the annexation, Tatars have complained of official intimidation, the closure of Tatar language classes and a general atmosphere of mistrust of Tatar residents.
Crimean Prosecutor Natalya Poklonskaya on Wednesday ordered the Tatar council, called the Mejlis, to be suspended. That prohibits it from holding public gatherings, using bank account or disseminating so-called propaganda, the Russian state news agency Tass reported.
The suspension is to hold until a court rules on a suit by Poklonskaya to ban the Mejlis outright as an extremist organization.