On November 23, 2017, a wave of attacks conducted by representatives of occupation authorities of Crimea, controlled by the Russian Federation, targeted the peaceful population of the peninsula throughout Crimea. Russian FSB in occupied Crimea conducted a series of illegal searches in homes of eight Crimean Tatar activists. At the same time, five Crimean Tatar activists were arrested in the city of Simferopol, namely Bekir Dehermendzhi, Asan Chapukh, Kazim Ametov, Kurtseit Abdullaiev and Ruslan Trubach, most of whom have been still illegally deprived of their liberty. At the place of this brutal operation, there was an 83-year-old legendary veteran of the national Crimean-Tatar movement, Vedzhie Kashka. Force was also applied to her. She felt bad at the place of detention, later on the same day she died in an ambulance.
We appeal to the Ukrainian Government, Governments of foreign states and international organizations with the request:
- To strongly condemn the wave of illegal searches and detentions in Crimea, which caused the death of Vedzhie Kashka, a veteran of the Crimean Tatar movement, and resulted in a gross violation of human rights.
- To demand from the Russian Federation an effective investigation into the death of Vedzhie Kashka and to bring the perpetrators to justice, to monitor the course of such an investigation.
- To demand from the Russian Federation to stop the illegal politically motivated persecution of Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars in the occupied territories.
- To monitor the fate of all illegally detained persons and their possible further criminal prosecution by the Crimean occupation authorities.
- To conduct investigations of the deaths of a Ukrainian citizen veteran of the Crimean Tatar movement Vedzhie Kashka and the illegal imprisonment of Ukrainian citizens of Crimean Tatar community activists by law enforcement agencies of Ukraine.
- To provide comprehensive assistance and support to community activists, political prisoners of the Kremlin and their families, as well as independent lawyers working in Crimea to protect human rights.
So, on November 23, 2017, in several cities of Crimea, illegal searches took place in private homes of eight Crimean Tatar activists. Simultaneously with the searches in houses, six activists were arrested in the cafe “Medobory” and cafe “Marakand” in Simferopol, among them five Crimean Tatars. They were illegally detained by Russian security forces without notifying on reasons for their detention and without access to lawyers. Among the detainees are 57-year-old father of one of the defendants of the Case of February 26 Bekir Dehermendzhy, activists Kazim Ametov, Asan Chapukh, Ruslan Trubach, Kurtseit Abdullaev, Yuri Baranov.
According to Russian media with the reference to the occupational law enforcement agencies, detentions and searches were conducted within the framework of a criminal case allegedly on suspicion of demanding money from a Turkish citizen Yusuf Aytan (Part 2 of Article 163 of the Criminal Code, up to 7-year imprisonment). All searches and detentions were conducted with disproportionate use of force, and procedural rights of detainees, including the right to protection, were not respected. Activists detained at the “Medobory” Cafe were kept in handcuffs for a long time, laying on the floor. Most of the representatives of the Crimean Tatar community detained in Simferopol were interrogated by security forces and to this day are illegally deprived of their liberty by the occupation authorities.
Among the detainees was a veteran of the Crimean Tatar national movement, 83-year-old Vedzhie Kashka. Immediately after the arrest, she felt bad due to illegal violent acts of the Crimean “law enforcement”. They called an ambulance, but the woman died, because of a heart attack in the “fast” carriage without reaching the hospital. Later, the occupation authorities published a video of the detention of the abovementioned persons, however, “law enforcement” cut from the video the moment of the death of the woman.
Also on the evening of November 23, more than twelve participants of single protests, taking place on 14.10.2017, received summonses for drafting protocols on administrative offenses under Part 5 of Article 20.2 of the Administrative Code of the RF (violation of the established procedure for holding a public event). At present, the names of the two victims are known – Dilyar Asanov and Eldar Kantemirov.
We consider that such searches and detentions represent another brutal wave of pressure on public activists and members of the Crimean Tatar national movement, as well as the continuation of the policy of persecuting all those who disagree with the actions of the occupation authorities. Information disseminated by media controlled by the Russian Federation on the deaths and illegally detained Crimean Tatars is not true. According to the families of the detainees, Turkish citizen Yusuf Aytan borrowed a certain amount of money from the veteran of the national movement, Vedzhie Kashka. At the same time, the occupation authorities used a provocation to exert pressure on activists and spread false propaganda in the media, including in order to discredit the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, whose members included detainees. Searches and accusations of participants of single protests also indicate illegal politically motivated actions of the occupation authorities, which since the beginning of the capture of the Crimea systematically persecuted any manifestations of freedom of thought and freedom of peaceful gatherings on the peninsula.
We condemn the ongoing illegal and cynical actions of the Russian occupation authorities in Crimea and call on the international community to take all possible measures for the immediate cessation and de-occupation of the Crimean Peninsula.
KrymSOS Т. TASHEVA
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union О. PAVLICHENKO
Crimea Human Rights Protection Group О. SKRYPNYK
Deputy Head О. ROMANTSOVA
Center for Civil Liberties
Crimean Human Rights Movement Е. KADYROV