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Cowardly final brutality as Russia releases jailed 76-year-old Crimean Tatar Server Karametov
Server Karametov, the frail, seriously ill, and courageous pensioner whom a court in Russian-occupied Crimea jailed for peaceful protest, was released on Saturday evening after 10 days’ imprisonment. It had seemed that the occupation regime could sink no lower, yet it found a way.
The elderly man who suffers from several serious illnesses was due to be released after 9 p.m. That, at least, was the claim made, while in fact an hour or so earlier, Server Karametov was taken, without any money, to the bus station and simply left there. Thankfully, people had begun gathering early in order to greet the unwavering defender of persecuted Crimean Tatars and some young men realized that he was being taken to the station and went to find him.
They brought him back to outside the detention unit where around 150 people were gathered to greet him. They included Ilmi Umerov, who is himself on trial for so-called ‘public calls to action aimed at violating Russia’s territorial integrity’ for an interview in which he spoke of international sanctions and expressed the same view on Crimea as that held by the UN and all international bodies.
The occupation authorities were presumably frightened of the support Server Karametov would be shown and tried to hide him away. This, on a more systematic basis, is exactly what they have done with respect to imprisoned Crimean Tatar leader Akhtem Chiygoz. He has been held in detention since late January 2015, and since July 2016, has not even been allowed to attend his own ‘trial’. The decision to imprison Chiygoz came from Moscow, and it is Russia that bears direct responsibility for the failure to allow Chiygoz to see his dying mother for more than ten minutes and refusal to let him attend her funeral.
It was while holding a peaceful picket in defence of Chiygoz that Server Karametov was detained. He had been standing for a few minutes outside the High Court where the ‘trial’ of Chiygoz was taking place (without the ‘defendant’). He held a placard which said: “Putin, our children are not terrorists!”.
He was approached by four police officers, one videoing the proceedings, and senior lieutenant Andrei Vladimirovich Sergeyenko telling him to leave. He was indignant, saying that single-person pickets are allowed. Sergeyenko said that they weren’t outside the court and appeared to grab at the placard.
The elderly man’s illness means that he is not always fully in control of his speech and physical movements, and became very agitated.
Their exchange and then the shameful scenes of these ‘officers’ pushing him into their car can and should be watched here https://youtube.com/watch?v=3f_MJdQIj_g.
He was taken to the police station and held there for around four hours without the medication he was due to take, without food and also being prevented from even using the toilet.
He was charged with two administrative ‘offences’: infringing the procedure for holding a picket and, incredibly, resisting the police.
‘Judge’ Marina Vladimirovna Kolotsei ignored all of the above, as well as the numerous procedural infringements, and that day fined him 10 thousand roubles for a supposedly unauthorized protest. The next day, August 9, she went much further and jailed him for ten days for the alleged ‘resisting a police officer’.
This sentence was then upheld by ‘judge’ Natalya Anatolyevna Terentyeva
On August 14, several pensioners came out on single-person pickets bearing placards with the same words: : “Putin, our children are not terrorists! They are not extremists either!”.
They, and people who photographed them and the police, were also detained. One man, 64-year-old Yarikul Davlatov – was later that day fined 10 thousand roubles by ‘judge’ Maria Viktorovna Domnikova although nobody was able to explain how exactly they had determined that the place where Davlatov was standing was ‘territory of the High Court’.