February 19, 2020

Crimean Tatars are indigenous community of Crimea. After the annexation of Crimean peninsula by Russia in 2014, the lives of Crimean Tatars have turned into the battle for their existence.

After so-called ‘green men’ have come to the peninsula and occupied the building of Crimean parliament, Crimean Tatars firmly opposed them. Even after so-called the Crimean status referendum Crimean Tatars have become prominent resistance force – they did not recognize annexation, joined protest rallies against unlawful actions of Russian authorities, supported Ukraine, and hoisted Ukrainian flags over their houses. Hundreds of activists stayed at so-called ‘border line’ near Armyansk to support comeback of Crimean Tatars national leader M. Dzhemilev, declared persona non-grata in Crimea.

Occupation authorities have reacted immediately – the repressions against Tatars, intimidations, night visits, trials, restrictions for public meetings etc.

Majlis, the highest executive-representative body of Crimean Tatars was also prohibited. Russian enforcement bodies tried to press down on its members, to force Majlis to recognize the annexation.

FSB carried numerous groundless detentions and framed up cases against Majlis leaders. After it become clear that Majlis cannot be forced to become a collaborate body, it was prohibited as extremist organization according to the decision of the Supreme Court of Russian Federation in September 2016. Deputy leaders of Majlis – I.Umerov and A.Chiygoz were arrested and charged therefore. But even these rough measures had no solid effect and occupation authorities started kidnappings and murders.

On March 5, 2014 the body of Reshat Ametov, the resident of Simferopol city was discovered near Zemlianichnoe village. He was brutally beaten, his head was tied with scotch tape, the handcuffs were found nearby. The death was caused by stabbing his eye with a knife.

Ervin Ibragimov was carried off on May 24 2016 near his house in Bakhchysarai. His Ford Focus was stopped by 2 men wearing Federal Highway Traffic Safety Service uniform. He was an activist of Majlis, he repeatedly declined the offers to work for federal administration of the annexed peninsula. His relatives still have no information about his fate and law enforcement units did not make any efforts to investigate Ibragimov’s case.

Later in 2016, 19 Crimean Tatars were arrested and charged of participation in Islamic organization Hizb ut-Tahrir. Extremely violent methods of investigation and total lack of evidences is significant feature of Russian judicial system. One of the arrested Tatars, Emir-Hussein Kuku was arrested on the charge of participation in prohibited organization. It happened after Emir-Hussein, a well-known and respected member of Crimean Tatar community, refused to cooperate with FSB.

On July 9, 2019 beheaded corpse was found on the beach near Nikolaevka village of Simferopol district. The kettlebell was tied to the body. The body was identified as Rashid Yagyaev, lost in the occupied Crimea in April 2019. He was the wealthy businessman and supported Majlis financially, as well as the families of arrested Tatars.

Massive repressions against Crimean Tatars have started since the occupation of Crimea by Russia, and they are going on now.

Russia violates the ratified UN conventions and international treaties, rejecting the right of Crimean Tatars to consider Crimea as the integral part of Ukraine and their homeland. Occupation authorities show that they have power and may charge and incarcerate any person, whose opinion contradicts with the official one, without any evidences.

It happens in the 21st century! It happens in the country which pretends to be the world leader, which highlights the ethical values and power of Russian culture. Such actions deserve the resolute condemnation and increasing sanctions pressure on the country, violating international law and human rights with impunity.

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