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Nariman Dzhelyal, Crimea in 2019.
(c) 2019 Anton Naumliuk, Grati
To be a Crimean Tatar member is to be considered a target in today’s Crimea.
In the early hours on September 4, Russia’s security forces raided Nariman Dzhelyal’s house. He was a deputy chairman for the Crimean Tatar representative body Mejlis.
Dzhelyal is one the few Crimean Tatar leaders still in Crimea as a result Russia’s brutal and seemingly inexorable persecution campaign against Crimean Tatars.
After searching Dzhelyal’s home,
authorities detained him. 24 hours he was detained in handcuffs with a bag around his head and without access to water, food or legal representation.
Dzhelyal’s lawyer said to me that Dzhelyal was “morally, physically exhausted” when she finally saw him the day after his arrest. Investigators had threatened Dzhelyal and pressured him during interrogations. She claimed she wanted to “break” him.
Dzhelyal just returned from Kyiv where he attended the Crimea Platform international summit. The summit was attended by diplomats and international organizations from 45 nations. It aimed to place Crimea, occupied since 2014,, back on the international agenda, and to draw attention to the terrible human rights situation in that region.
Dzhelyal is being held on suspicion of “aiding in sabotage” in an investigation into the recent damage to a pipeline that supplied a Russian military base close to Simferopol, Crimea. In connection with this case, three other Crimean Tatars were detained by authorities prior to Dzhelyal being arrested.
Yesterday, Simferopol’s court ordered Dzhelyal to be remanded in detention for two months with two other men.
In an effort to paint politically active Crimean Tatars “extremists”, “terrorists”, and erase any trace of dissent from its peninsula, Russian authorities exiled or criminally charged Crimean Tatar leaders with blatant disregard to due process. They harassed, banned, and eventually closed Crimean Tatar media outlets. Crimean Tatars have suffered enforced disappearances and arbitrary arrests, torture, and other ill-treatment while in custody. Numerous people have been charged with false criminal offenses or sentenced to unjust and horrifying prison terms.
Russian authorities must immediately release Nariman Dalyal and other political-motivated prisoners. This lawlessness must stop.
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