He was charged in May 2016, after he made public statements opposing Russia's armed takeover of Crimea in March 2014. He denies the charges, saying he has the right to express his opinions freely. Dozens of relatives and supporters came to the courthouse in the Crimean capital, Simferopol, in hopes of attending the trial. Authorities allowed only about 15 spectators into the courtroom, citing space concerns. Umerov's lawyer, Mark Feigin, told Radio Liberty on June 7 that it was likely to be a lengthy trial. He said that, despite health problems, his client wanted an open trial so that he can speak publicly about the problems faced by Crimean Tatars under Moscow's rule. In August 2016, Umerov was forcibly sent to a psychiatric clinic for a month of assessment tests. Human Rights organizations have called the case against Umerov "illegal and politically motivated." Mejlis Chairman Refat Chubarov has called the case against Umerov part of a campaign of persecution by the Russia-installed authorities against Crimean Tatars.