Crimean Tatar blogger and journalist Nariman Memedeminov has been detained a year and a half in a Russian pre-trial detention center for freedom of thought.

By ZN.UA / HromadskeTV
09.16.2019 [September 16, 2019]
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine

Blogger and journalist Nariman Memedeminov

Crimean Tatar blogger and journalist Nariman Memedeminov has been detained a year and a half in a Russian pre-trial detention center essentially for freedom of thought. He is accused basically of journalistic activity. He is being persecuted on national, religious and professional grounds.

On September 16, he was named by lawyer Liliya Gemadzhi, along with other activists and journalists persecuted in occupied Crimea, at the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM) of OSCE (Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe) participating States in Warsaw (Europe’s largest annual human rights and democracy conference). The accusations against Memedeminov are contrived – he is charged with basically journalistic activity.

An activist with the public association “Crimean Solidarity,” he was detained at a Bakhchysarai district building. The court arrested and charged him under Part 2 of Art. 205 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Public calls for terrorist activity committed using the Internet).

Speaking in court, Memedeminov said the investigation refuses to recognize him as a citizen of Ukraine and pursued him on a national, religious and professional basis and tries to present him as a native of Uzbekistan in order to deny the fact of his belonging to the Crimean Tatar people.

Crimean lawyer Edem Semedlyaev believes that Memedeminov’s active civic position was the reason for the persecution of the journalist: “He is a citizen journalist, blogger and streamer, that is, he is one of the first who was not afraid and began coming to the courts in support of the Crimean Tatars.

Now Nariman Memedeminov is being held in a pre-trial detention center in Russia’s Rostov-on-Don.

The National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NSZH) called Memedeminov’s arrest in Crimea “a violation of the right to freedom of thought, and free access to and dissemination of information, including through the Internet.”

The North Caucasian District Military Court in Rostov-on-Don questioned a religious scholar, Timur Urazmetov, who was part of a group that was preparing comprehensive linguistic and religious expertise in civil journalist Memedeminov’s case. It was this group that formed the foundation of a criminal case [against him]. This was reported by lawyer Eden Semedlyaev.

“We insist that [any] conclusions on Islamic statements should be made by a person who professes Islam, who understands the subtleties and specifics of the religion. This should be a specialist who has some knowledge of Islam, and not just a culturologist history teacher, author of several works of dubious science about the Hizb ut-Tahrir party, who believes that such publications allow him to [claim] religious expertise,” said the lawyer.

Source: ZN,UA/HromadskeTV

 

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My little struggle. Oleg Sentsov’s full speech at the YES-2019 conference

By NV.ua Staff
09.13.2019 [September 13, 2019]
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine

Freed Ukrainian political prisoner Oleg Sentsov opening the YES 2019 conference by holding up the jar onto which he had pasted the yellow-blue stripes of the Ukrainian flag in the first month of his captivity in Russian prison.

I am very grateful to the organizers for inviting me to this forum – I was told that I could talk about anything. In principle, I always say what I think, I try to talk about the main thing. And today I will talk about the main thing. Today I’m going to talk about a jar, a simple plastic jar, and what should be in it. I will now explain to everyone what I had in mind. Where I was, in prison, for five years, every little thing, everything has big meaning. They don’t throw anything out there, they use everything, and an important thing, is tea. In a bag, in a box, and you can keep it in a jar – I kept it in a jar.

This was a difficult jar. I had two notebooks – yellow and blue. I didn’t order them, they just handed them to me in my gear, it turned out. This was still back at the very beginning, in the first month. I took and cut two strips from these notebooks – blue and yellow – and glued them to this jar and wrote two words: the word “Glory” and the word “[to] Ukraine.” And I put it in the most visible place. All five years while I was traveling the prisons of the Russian Federation, she [the jar with the Ukrainian flag colours on it] was with me and I always put her in the most prominent place.

She was very annoying to the jailers. They constantly teased me, tore off the flag, tried to stomp on it – there were many such small hassles over this jar. It was my small struggle. Of course, this was not Ilovaisk or Debaltseve. I was not in Donbas, I was not in the war – I was arrested two days before I was supposed to go there. Well, that’s how it happened – everyone has their own destiny and we do not choose it. And I waged my own little battle. Known to no one, visible to no one – one on one with this system. For myself, for my dignity, for my country and for two stripes – yellow and blue.

Here is that jar [Sentsov holds up the jar – Ed.]. In prisons, Russian prisoners also have so-called badges. Here is mine [holds up his badge – Ed.]. The red band means “inclined to escape,” “special prisoner,” “special control,” well, and all other instances. I took it with me, to remember.

In some armies of the world, there is such a tradition – not even a tradition, but as a rule – that when a soldier dies, his commander tears off a token to collect reports of the dead. This is a sad rule, a sad tradition. I would like to start another: I would very much like for this jar to be filled, as soon as possible, with the badges of those still in captivity in Russia, the Donbas and Crimea.

Mr. President: make sure that this jar is full, as soon as possible.

Source: nv.ua

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Voices of Ukraine Remembers Dmitry Tymchuk: “Thank you all for translating Mr. Tymchuk’s blog.”

06.22.2019 (June 22, 2019)
Written by Sophia Isajiw, Voices of Ukraine English editor-in-chief and edited by Voices of Ukraine editor and translator Maria Stanislav, representing the Voices of Ukraine Team

It is with the greatest sadness in our hearts that we write about the passing of Dmitry Tymchuk as the result of a gunshot wound to his head on 19 June 2019, the strange circumstances of which are still under investigation.

Dmitry has been a trusted friend to us at Voices of Ukraine (VoU) for the past 5 years, during which time we translated over 555 of his iconic Information Resistance (IR) group military summaries and articles, daily for over 3.5 of those years, after making an agreement with him we would act as the official English language translators for their full summary reports beginning in March 2014. Dmitry very graciously agreed to be a specialist in our advisory group from the early days of Maidan, and always gave us very succinct and solid advice when asked. Not long after, NATO wisely approached him to advise them.

Dmitry was inspirational – a true professional on the outside and a quick-witted creative thinker on the inside – the working definition of a reformed, professional Ukraine.

Dmitry Tymchuk met with Voices of Ukraine translator and editor Maria Stanislav in Kyiv in September of 2015

He was solid, honest, truthful, candid, precise, an excellent observer, respectful and generous with his time – answering our many questions, sharing insightful reflections, making time to meet with us. In person, his real-life personality matched his online voice. He was poetic; when we  messaged him with “Dmitry, are you here?? We have more questions, please,” he wrote back: “Yes, of course, for you, even a star from the sky.” He had a finely developed, intelligent and subversive humour we couldn’t get enough of. As one reader wrote, in early 2014: “I found the term ‘Orthodox Communists’ amusing, a true oxymoron. Thank you all for translating Mr. Tymchuk’s blog.” All of us at VoU fell in love with those early writings and posts of his about the situation in Ukraine before he settled into the military summaries – before he had to reign in the historic nuances and ironic subtle entendres to be more widely understood by NATO and a diverse public who had by then (April 2014) started following him from all over the world. But it would still slip into his summaries from time to time: “Let the Opposition Block concern themselves with giraffe husbandry!,” he wrote in late November of that year.

While we worked furiously to translate his summaries into mostly English, but also German (over 11 articles), French, Japanese (over 60 articles), Italian, we received enthusiastic thanks for these translations from the Philippines, Poland, Canada, the USA, Australia, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, from Moscow to Magadan in Russia, Lithuania, Turkey, Italy, parts of Latin America and beyond. One reader wrote: “I am always in awe of Mr. Tymchuk’s intensely informative and articulately soulful posts. Honestly, his awesome ‘On the Front’ info is so chilling; I find my jaw dropping and my heart-rate escalating as I’m reading. As I finish reading his visually stimulating narratives, I find I have to catch my breath and take a moment to de-stress. Thx for the terrific job you do and thx to Mr. Tymchuk, for finding time to post his observations.” Another reader wrote: “I’d just like to let you know that Dmitry Tymchuk’s translated articles that you publish are a great source of knowledge for us about difficult situation in Ukraine. Best wishes from Poland to you and all Ukrainians!” And yet another: “Hello Dmitry. This is an excellent record of the momentous events taking place in Ukraine. Most newspapers and tv news here in the USA do NOT report Ukraine news every day. So, your blog is the best source of Ukraine news I have found on the internet. Keep up the good work!”
And he did, unceasingly. 


When he wrote to us in Ukrainian, his Ukrainian was literary and beautiful. But he told us it was important to him to post in Russian so that all Russian-speakers would clearly understand and have a record to refer to for posterity. We shared his concern that a record be kept. Those very dark days on Maidan and horrific events in Donbas suddenly felt that much safer to know that Dmitry and the IR group turned their expertise and efforts towards them. We never stopped worrying for Dmitry and all of the IR contributors. And until more information from the investigation into his death comes forth, we strive here to just remember and honour Dmitry Tymchuk, his gift and his legacy. We are proud of the archival record we have been able to establish for the English-speaking world from his work, and to have been able to amplify his voice that much further into the world so as to better inform a wider public of the early and ongoing ground realities of Russia’s war on Ukraine. 

In the foreword to his book Invasion of Ukraine: A Chronicle of Russian Aggression (published in Russian, but we are all still waiting for it to come out in English) Dmitry acknowledged Voices of Ukraine and a handful of English and Japanese volunteer translators with “Thank you friends, and a deep bow. Thanks to your assistance, the world has learned the truth about events in Ukraine.” He told us that interest in our English language translations of his military summaries came from various politicians and experts who visited from the US and the UK, that Canada’s interest fell off a bit after the first year, and the next most interested were the Germans, French and Italians. When he later became a National Deputy he never ceased his daily work with IR and at one point wrote us: “By the way, recently on the ‘parliamentary’ frontline, in my many meetings with various experts and officials from Western countries, many of them continuously monitor the summaries of the IR group in English, so that they are aware of the developments in Ukraine through your translations – once again thank you very much!”

Dmitry, we all owe you a deep debt of gratitude for your unflagging professionalism and dedication. We salute and pay tribute to you, thank you for your vision and service, for your friendship, your lion’s heart, your deep commitment, and for all you were and stood for. Voices of Ukraine were your diehard fans and worked hard to accurately research, translate and edit IR’s military summaries out of the greatest respect for IR’s efforts and sacrifices and for your own precise journalistic writing skills, straight up decency and professional expertise. Dmitry wrote us so generously at one point in 2014: “We admire you, too! You are…such patriots. It’s just beyond words. If many Ukrainians had at least 10% of your energy and patriotism, Ukraine would have been a superpower long ago)))).” And if 10% of Dmitry could only be spread to every Ukrainian citizen…

More recently, after not hearing from us in a while, he wrote: “I’m happy you don’t forget about us! It’s also nice to know that our information is in demand in the West. It is thus not for nothing that we work.” It has been so definitely not for nothing, Dmitry!

It is our great privilege to have crossed paths and travelled a small leg of your journey with you and to have known you. You were the best of us, a humble giant, and our hero, and you will always remain simply unforgettable. You leave behind a very big hole and an ache. We know IR members are already stepping up to continue the important, detailed work you started. The ache you leave behind will be irreplaceable. Вічна пам’ять.
Memory Eternal. Heroes never die. 

 

 

 

“I really hope that someday,
we can all meet together.

That would be wonderful!
Thank you!
Sincerely,
Tymchuk”

 

 

 

 

Dmitry Tymchuk and Information Resistance blog post translations by Voices of Ukraine

 

 

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Statement by the “Information Resistance” group on the death of Dmitry Tymchuk

information_resistance_logo_engInformation Resistance group
06.20.2019 (June 20, 2019)
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine

tymchuk

Dmitry Tymchuk was the Head of the Center for Military and Political Research, Coordinator of the Information Resistance (IR) group, and a Member of Parliament (People’s Front).

Statement by the Information Resistance group

Yury Karin, IR Media Manager:

Dmytro Tymchuk, one of the coordinators and co-founders of the Information Resistance group, Member of Parliament of Ukraine, lieutenant colonel (reserve) and military journalist, tragically died on June 19th.

The Information Resistance group and the team of the Center of Military-Political Studies offer their deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of our friend and colleague.

Dmytro was always a true professional. He will forever live in our memories as a man of firm patriotic beliefs and unshakeable moral principles, which he never compromised. It was thanks to Dmytro’s human and professional qualities which made it possible to gather a team of like-minded people who have been defending Ukraine on the information front since the very start of Russian aggression, to this day. His personal and professional journey was full of significant achievements to the benefit of his homeland. We will remember him as an honest and honorable man, and a true Officer.

We have suffered an irreparable loss, but we have no intention of stopping our work for the benefit of Ukraine.

Dmytro was always brimming with new ideas and creative plans. We will continue the work that was the central purpose of his life.

The Information Resistance group will continue defending the national interests of Ukraine with all our strength. We will realize all of the ideas that our fallen colleague had been involved in.

The Information Resistance group is truly grateful to everyone who expressed their support and condolences to us, and to Dmytro’s family, friends and loved ones in this difficult time.

Speaking to Ukrainian and foreign media, as well as everyone who was moved by this tragedy, we request that you refrain from spreading speculations about the reasons and circumstances of Dmytro’s death. We believe it necessary to wait for the outcome of the official investigation. Please treat this request with understanding and respect.

– The Information Resistance Group

Source: Dmitry Tymchuk FB  and  Yury Karin FB

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Evgeny Panov’s mother talks about her son’s health problems after visiting him in Russian prison

By the Crimean Human Rights Group (CHRG)
07.18.2018
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine

Vera Kotelyanets near the “Supreme Court” of Crimea. Photo by Mikhail Batrak

Vera Kotelyanets, who often comes to Crimea from Enerhodar, Zaporozhia oblast, tosupport her son at court hearings, managed to see him on July 10, 2018, on the eve of the announcement of his verdict.

According to her, Evgeny has serious problems with his teeth and gums as a result of the electric shock torture applied to him after his arrest.

“He never complains of anything, he endures, even when it hurts. He begins to speak when there is no strength left to endure. This visit he said that there are problems with his gums. His teeth, black after the electric current, ache and break off. There are no doctors, and no one gives him medicine. And if one starts to make strong demands, they will be put in “isolation.” But many complain about their teeth, and sometimes, when a certain number of patients are recruited, a dentist is brought from the city who simply pulls out the sick teeth,” the woman told the Crimean Human Rights Group.

Vera Kotelyanets also reported that it is difficult to transfer medicines to the SIZO [pre-trial detention center]. “We must first find a pharmacy which issues certificates for drugs, for which one needs to wait from three days to a week. The list of painkillers is limited, strong drugs cannot be transferred,” Vera says. “The last time, Zhenya [Evgeny] was given activated charcoal because water was not brought in time, and they had to drink dirty tap water for a few days. His joints are also very painful. But basically he does not complain, he worries more about how we live, and where we get money for trips and transfers.”

Meetings of prisoners with relatives in the Simferopol jail occur through a cloudy double glass with iron fittings between the windows, communication is provided by old telephone tubes through which it is hard to hear.

“When I come to see him, there is always a guard beside us and nothing nonessential can be said. They have even adapted themselves to making conditional signs to convey something that cannot be spoken out loud,” Vera explains.

“This time I was given 2 hours for a visit, the longest visit of all of them; the permission for a visit with an open date came to my postal address, I gathered myself together in one day,” recalls Panov’s mother.

Vera Kotelyanets also informed the CHRG that the court sessions were usually closed, but on July 13 she was admitted to the courtroom for the announcement of the verdict, and together with the Crimean activists she was able to express her support to her son.

“On July 13, the TV “Russia” channel was allowed first into the courtroom, then we went in – myself and 7 other local activists. We were told where we should go, but we spoiled the whole picture. Entering the hall, we began to greet Zhenya, shouting “Glory to the patriots!,” “Zhenya, we love you!” I screamed: “Evgeny, we’ll get you out of here!” We were seated in the middle, and half the room, to create a crowd, was filled with people that were obviously gathered from within the courthouse. I brought Zhenya an embroidery, and he was wearing it. He was keeping well, he was very pleased that we came. At the exit, we also shouted Ukrainian slogans and words of support in Ukrainian. But back at home, I have not found anything about this anywhere on Russian channels. Only on “Anna-News” news came out about the announcement of the verdict on “the leader of the Crimean saboteurs Colonel Panov.”

“I am very grateful to the local residents, especially the Crimean Tatars, who support Zhenya and me,” Vera said.

On 13 July 2018, the “Supreme Court” of Crimea  sentenced Ukrainian citizen Evgeny Panov, accused by Russian special services of preparing a sabotage on the peninsula [Crimea], to 8 years in a strict-regime colony. The FSB accused Evgeny Panov of “preparing sabotages in Crimea as part of a sabotage group.” In addition, the Ukrainian was also accused of “smuggling ammunition across the customs border of the Customs Union” (Part 1, Article 30 and paragraph “a” Part 2, Article 281, Part 3, Article 30 and Part 3, Article 226.1, part 3 of Article 222 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation).

In the case of Evgeny Panov, torture, psychological pressure, falsification of evidence, obstruction of the work of lawyers, violation of the right to a fair trial, were recorded. According to human rights activists, Evgeny Panov, along with other citizens of Ukraine who have been accused in cases of [so-called] “saboteurs,” are victims of politically motivated criminal prosecution.

Ukrainian human rights activists have issued an open appeal to the governments of the European Union, Switzerland, Norway, Montenegro, Iceland, Albania, Liechtenstein, the United States, Canada, Australia and Japan, which called for the use of all possible political and diplomatic mechanisms for the release of Evgeny Panov, as well as to introduce personal sanctions against those involved in the prosecution of a political prisoner and to strengthen sectoral sanctions against Russia for gross systematic violation of human rights and war crimes in occupied Crimea.

Source: Crimean Human Rights Group

 

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