By Anton Naumlyuk, journalist (text and all photos)
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine
Respected human rights journalist Anton Naumlyuk has been in Crimea this month covering the trials of Crimean Tatar political prisoners, taking photographs and collecting information from their relatives. Voices of Ukraine wishes to highlight the faces and stories of Crimean Tatars who are being kidnapped, disappeared and persecuted on a regular basis by the Russian invader-occupants of Crimea. Here are some of the photos and insights from Naumlyuk (his report for Radio Svoboda will follow, and related reading links about these men from Halya Coynash of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group are at the end of the article).
According to [Russian-installed Crimean puppet] prosecutor Natalia Poklonsky, 357 people are listed as missing in Crimea, of which 26 are Crimean Tatars. Human rights activists declared that kidnappings are taking place. Among the people collecting information on the kidnappings was Emir-Huseyn Kuku, member of the Contact Group on Human Rights in Crimea.
This is Crimean journalist Mykola Semena, who is currently facing 5 years of imprisonment because he dared to disagree that “Crimea is Russia.” His computer was apparently hacked, and law enforcement took remote screenshots while he was writing articles, sending e-mails, and socializing in social networks. He is being persecuted for entirely political reasons, and when his case gets to court, which will happen, you will learn a lot about how the work is being done by Russian intelligence agencies to organize an information blackout of the entire [Crimean] peninsula.
These are the parents of Achtem Chiygoz, who was arrested in January of 2015 on charges of organizing mass riots. He faces up to 10 years in prison. On February 26, 2014, a group of Tatars, apparently organized by Chubarov, took part in a rally in front of the Verkhovna Rada [Supreme Council] of Crimea to protest the passing of the separatist laws. The rally was opposed by “titushky” [hired thugs] of [Crimean “prime minister” Sergey] Aksyonov. As a result, Achtem Chiygoz was arrested. His parents, Veytulla and Alie, remember both their deportation [in 1944] and the return home.
This is the son and wife of Emir-Huseyn Kuku, Crimean human rights activist, who is being accused of involvement in Hizb ut-Tahrir, an organization declared as terrorist in Russia as early as 2003. Hizb members, in their entire history, have not committed a single act of terrorism and denounce violent methods of fighting for a global caliphate. The European Court of Human Rights, while recognizing that their doctrine does not correspond to European values, did not find anything of a terrorist nature in their activities. In April 2015, Kuku was beaten, and an arrest was attempted, but he was only taken in February 2016. Recently, a man tried to intimidate his nine-year-old son, later admitting that he was acting on the orders of FSB operatives. Ukrainian human rights activists filed a statement to the prosecutor about the child being subjected to [psychological] pressure. Emir-Huseyn Kuku faces up to 10 years in prison.
This is one of the seven children of Enver Mamutov, a resident of Bakhchysarai, who is being accused of involvement in Hizb ut-Tahrir, which has been declared a terrorist organization in Russia, but is permitted to act freely in Ukraine and in the majority of countries in the world. His father could face up to 10 years in prison.
This is Dua – a collective prayer for the fate of the prisoners. Crimean Muslims, knowing that they can follow in the footsteps of the 14 persons arrested in the Hizb ut-Tahrir case, gather in the hundreds to pray for the release of their co-believers. All this takes place under close scrutiny of the police, and none of the participants can be sure that they will not be prosecuted in turn. Relatives and friends of the arrested have formed an organization called Crimean Solidarity, which organizes the Dua, and helps the families and children of the accused. Solidarity emerged on its own, without anyone specifically organizing it. It is simply a movement of people helping each other.
This is the son of Remzi Memetov, who was detained along with three other residents of Bakhchysarai on May 12th. Memetov was 49 years old and worked as a cook. Now his wife and two sons are left without him. One of the sons, Dilyaver, is now coordinating Crimean Solidarity – an organization of the relatives of Muslim political prisoners. Today [July 3rd], a Dua took place near Memetov’s house – a collective prayer for the fate of the political prisoners.
This is Nadzhiye, the wife of Muslim Aliev. Her husband, a construction worker from Alushta, was detained on February 11, 2016 on charges of involvement in Hizb ut-Tahrir. His two children are left without a father. Muslim Aliyev faces up to 25 years in prison. Today [July 4th], near his home, Crimean Muslims held a Dua – a collective prayer for the fate of the political prisoners.
This is the smiling and gold-toothed Enver Mamutov, plasterer and painter from Bakhchysarai. He has seven children, one of them I have already shown [earlier on this page]. In front of their home, Crimean Muslims performed a dua recently. Mamutov was accused of membership in Hizb ut-Tahrir and faces up to 10 years in prison. Today [July 6th], his detention in custody extended until October.
This is Zevri Abseitov. A dentist from Bakhchysarai, with four children left at home without him. He was detained in May 2016 on charges of involvement in Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is only banned in Russia. Today [July 6th], the court extended his detention until October. At his trial, he carried a blood pressure monitor.
This is Remzi Memetov, a cook from Bakhchysarai. Like others, he was detained in May on charges of membership in Hizb ut-Tahrir. He left behind two children at home. His son Dilyaver coordinates Crimean Solidarity – an organization that helps the families of Crimean political prisoners. Today, the [occupied] Simferopol’s Kyivskiy District Court extended Memetov’s period in custody until October.
This is Rustem Abiltarov, a construction worker from Bakhchysarai and a father of four. He was detained in May, accused of membership in Hizb ut-Tahrir. He faces up to 10 years in prison. According to today’s [July 6th] court decision, he will remain in the Simferopol jail until October.
Source: Anton Naumlyuk FB posts
Halya Coynash, Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, on Emir-Huseyn Kuku: “When Abduction Turns to FSB ‘Search’ in Russian-Occupied Crimea”
Halya Coynash, Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, on Enver Mamutov, Rustem Albitarov, Remzi Memetov, Zevri Abseitov: “Russia’s Conveyor Belt of Repression in Occupied Crimea”
Halya Coynash, Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, on Mykola Semena: “Crimean journalist placed on ‘Russian List of Terrorists and Extremists’ for an article”
This translation work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Pingback: Anton Naumlyuk: “Hold on, and fight, our cause is just!” Crimean Tatar political prisoners (photo essay) | Voices of Ukraine