Russia’s High Court on Thursday rejected Crimean Tatars' appeal against a legal ban on their parliament, also known as the Mejlis.

Chubarov said Crimean Tatars faced jail if they took part in the body representing their own will and added if anyone joined the Mejlis' activities, he or she could receive a prison sentence of between two to six years.

He stated that any person who attended the Mejlis directly could face imprisonment of between six to 10 years.

Chubarov said they had been expecting Thursday's approval of the Russian ban. "The next level is to apply to the European Court of Human Rights", he added.

"No one can stop Crimean Tatars' struggle for their own people. We will continue our struggle on a legal basis," Chubarov said.

In February this year, a prosecutor appointed by Russia to occupied Crimea, Natalya Poklonskaya, made an application to the Crimean High Court to close down the Crimean Tatar body.

In the petition, Poklonskaya demanded the Crimean Tatar parliament's activities be stopped, based on Russian laws against extremism. She also called for the parliament to be regarded as an extremist organization.

A review into the case was postponed four times.

In April the same prosecutor decided the Crimean Tatar parliament's activities be stopped until the court's decree.

Ukraine had previously recognized the Mejlis as a legal representative body of the Crimean Tatars. The territory of Crimea was annexed from Ukraine by Russia in 2014.

Thursday’s decision meant the ban on the Mejlis’ activities would continue.

Crimean Tatars demonstrated in the Ukrainian capital Kiev during the review of the appeal case in Moscow.

The U.S. “does not recognize the legitimacy of the Russian Supreme Court’s ruling to uphold the ban of Crimean Tatars’ self-governing body, the Mejlis” and rejects “characterization of the Mejlis as an ‘extremist’ organization,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement

The U.S. does not recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea and sanctioned Russia for its actions on the peninsula.

Anadolu Agency