Nikolai Polozov: The trial of Crimean Tatar leader Ahtem Chiygoz #FreeChiygoz

By Nikolai Polozov, Russian lawyer to Ahtem Chiygoz, Deputy Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People and a political prisoner of the occupying Russian force in Crimea
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine

Photo Source: QHA Crimean News Agency

Photo Source: SIMFEROPOL/AQMESCIT (QHA) – Crimean News Agency

The trial of Ahtem Chiygoz
(Tenth day of trial)

At the beginning of today’s session, the judges again refused to satisfy the motion of the defense on bringing Ahtem Chiygoz into the courtroom, which is why he participated in the process indirectly, through videoconferencing. As in previous meetings, the unsatisfactory quality of the video communication link was called into question, this led to complaints about the quality of the link, and Chiygoz explained to the court that the sound is interrupted, one often has to ask the victims the question again.

There were 2 plaintiffs testifying today. The first plaintiff was Vladimir O. Yushkov. As of 02.26.14, he is a citizen of Ukraine.

His mother had informed him of the rally on February 26th by telephone. He went there with his wife and child, and met his parents there. He left his wife, child and mother in a safe place on Zhukovsky St., while he and his father took part in the rally. To the left of the entrance to the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (ARC) there were “pro-Ukrainian” participants meeting with Crimean Tatar flags, Ukrainian flags, and the “Right Sector” flag. To the right – were the “pro-Russian” participants with the flags of Crimea, Russia and a number of Crimean cities. I remembered there were slogans and shouts. From the left side they were carrying signs: “Crimea – is Ukraine,” “No to the referendum,” “Suitcase–>Station–>Russia!,” “Allah Akbar.” On the right – “Return the Constitution to 1992,” “Referendum,” “Putin – help us,” “Berkut.”

I saw Sergey Aksyonov and Refat Chubarov, who called for calm from the steps of the Verkhovna Rada. There were not enough police officers and they were not protecting public order. At some point a crowd crush began,  protesters started throwing sticks and plastic bottles filled with water. According to the plaintiff’s view, active efforts were being made by the “pro-Ukrainian” rally participants, while the “pro-Russian” participants were calm and restrained the crush. After, opponents of the victim released tear gas and began to squeeze out the “pro-Russian rally” from the inner court of the Verkhovna Rada of the ARC. He himself was squeezed by the bodies of “pro-Russian” rally participants, he fell down and they dragged him out by his arms. He saw Chiygoz, he is not familiar with him, so he could not report anything about his actions, except that he was there and spoke with Chubarov.

He said that after the end of the rally, he still stayed for some time in the Verkhovna Rada building, where he joined the “people’s militia,” and then went home. He did not seek medical assistance. He became a plaintiff in the case after appealing to the leadership of the “people’s militia.”

The second plaintiff questioned today is Eugene S. Anokhin. On 02.26.2014 he was a citizen of Ukraine. On the eve of 02.23, together with his brother, he enrolled in the first company of the “people’s militia,” the commander of whom was M.S. Sherbet.

On 25.02, he was guarding the statue of Lenin with other “militia” members when M.S. Sherbet informed him that on 02.26 a rally will be held next to the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea (ARC) at 14:00. The next morning, he was driving to work when his brother called him and said that waiting 14 hours is not worth it, but that he should come immediately, because a rally of their political opponents was already organized – stepping out for the unity of Crimea and of Ukraine – and that it is necessary “to ensure the presence of our demands” also. Asked whether the issue of protection resulting in a change in time to the “pro-Russian” rally, identically coinciding with the holding of the opponents’ rally, escalated tensions – the victim found it difficult to answer. Clarifying questions in sequence were filmed by the court.

Next, the plaintiff described the circumstances of the rallies, also mentioning the presence of Aksyonov and Chubarov. And the presence of the Right Sector flag among others. As a result of the crowd crush he fractured two ribs. Unlike many of the other plaintiffs, in his case a medical examination was carried out.

Regarding the actions of Ahtem Chiygoz he knows nothing, did not see him.

During the court session, Ahtem Chiygoz noted the active role of the judge, Kozyrev, who takes on the function of a Chairman, actually trying to manage the process in a sarcastically-mocking form, allowing himself caustic comments in respect to Ahtem Chiygoz and other participants in the process. Such behavior certainly is not compatible with the status of a judge. And to which the defense has repeatedly made objections.

The next hearing will take place on Tuesday 06.09.2016, beginning at 9:30 am.

Source: Nikolai Polozov FB post

Related Reading:
QHA: Crimean News Agency, September 1, 2016: “Trial of Chiygoz is ongoing in Simferopol”

Halya Coynash, Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group: “Russia’s Trial of jailed Crimean Tatar leader turns openly racist”

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This translation work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. The rights pertaining to the original work remain unaffected.

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