By Anton Naumlyuk, Russian journalist and photographer who reports on numerous politically motivated prosecutions of Crimean Tatars and other Ukrainians in occupied Crimea and Russia
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine
Anton Naumlyuk posts on his Facebook page:
How are you, my beloved daddy? What are you you doing? I miss you very much. How do you eat there, what kind of food, and in general how is your mood? Is everything ok for you? (Crossed out) Who would know, how much I miss you. At night I think about you and sometimes I want to cry. But you’re hanging in there without weeping. Oh, I miss you, my beloved. I don’t know if I ever upset you, but if I had, tell me and I’ll be better, but I cannot keep these tears in. Sometimes I’ll go to someone’s room, sit and bawl, and think to myself: “Why did they take you away from me, they have no conscience at all.” And I want to say this to their faces. And now I’m writing this and it’s like a tear passed over my cheek. I want to demand that you be released. I want to go outside and shout for all the world to hear: “Return my father to me!” I love you, Papa.”
Evelina Dzhepparova, 7 years old. Draft letter sent to her father – Arsen Dzhepparov, a figure in the Hizb ut-Tahrir case. Published with the kind consent of the author. Arsen Dzhepparov is being threatened with up to 20 years imprisonment.
Source: Anton Naumlyuk FB page
Today marks the 74th commemoration of the 18 May 1944 deportation of Crimean Tatars from their homeland to Central Asia and Siberia, carried out over only 3 days, May 18-20th. Ukraine’s parliament approved a resolution in 2015 recognizing the mass deportations of Crimean Tatars in 1944 as genocide and May 18 as the Day of Remembrance of the victims.
Soviet dictator Josef Stalin ordered the mass deportation of Crimean Tatars, the indigenous people of Crimea, on May 18, 1944 on the grounds that they had allegedly collaborated with Nazi Germany during World War II.
Hundreds of thousands were deported to Central Asia and Siberia. An estimated 40 percent of those deportees died during the journey or within a year of being exiled.
Crimean Tatars were allowed to return to Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in the late 1980s, before the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Most Crimean Tatars openly opposed Russia’s annexation of Crimea by Russia in March 2014. Currently under Russian occupation, Crimean Tatars are being persecuted by the occupiers again daily, taken into custody and charged under false accusations with long prison sentences.
For more information:
Al Jazeera: watch video Coming Back: A History of Crimea’s Tatars
About Arsen Dzhepparov, Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group: Crimean Tatars face 10 year sentences for refusal to testify against innocent men
NY TIMES: A Crimean Tatar Documents the Russian Annexation of her Homeland
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