Statement of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union regarding the hunger strike of Crimean Tatar activist Asan Chapukh

On September 19, 2018, 65-year-old Crimean Tatar activist Asan Chapukh, who had been arrested in connection with the “extortion case”, went on a hunger strike at the Simferopol pre-trial detention facility, demanding medical care.

According to the lawyer, his client is experiencing difficulties with moving the left side of the body, and he can only move around with the help of his cellmates. An independent medical expert believes this could have been caused by a stroke.

At the Simferopol pre-trial detention facility, medical care is provided only in the form of medicines sent by the inmates’ relatives.

Evhen Anikanov, head of the Russia-controlled facility’s medical department, had earlier told the activist’s family members that he had received an order to send Chapukh to a clinic, but after three days, this still had not been done. In protest, on Wednesday morning, the detainee refused to eat.

The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union urges:

The administration of the Russia-controlled Simferopol pre-trial detention facility to cease the torture of Asan Chapukh and to provide him with comprehensive medical care;

The occupying authorities in Crimea to stop the political persecution of the Crimean Tatar activist, close the fabricated case against him and release him from detention;

and calls on:

The Government of Ukraine not to restrict itself to a comment by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but to take real action at the bilateral and international level to compel the Russia-controlled pre-trial detention facility’s personnel to provide medical care to Crimean Tatar activist A. Chapukh, and then to have him released;

Our international partners to continue putting pressure on the Crimean occupying authorities and the Russian Federation to make them cease the political persecution and violations of the rights of human rights defenders and Crimean Tatars on the peninsula.

Asan Chapukh was detained by Russia’s law enforcement in Simferopol on November 23, 2017 and charged with extorting money from a Turkish citizen. The arrested himself argued that he was helping to return the money stolen from a veteran of the Crimean Tatar Vedzhie Kashka national movement.

Oleksandr Pavlichenko, Director, Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union

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