MENU

Similar articles

Edem Bekirov’s life is in danger, yet Russia continues torturing himCrimean Tatar political prisoner prefers imminent death from hunger strike to the slow torture Russia proposesGravely ill Crimean Tatar political prisoner in acute pain and unable to standHelp stop Russia from killing Crimean Tatar political prisoner Edem Bekirov!Russia refuses to comply with ECHR order to hospitalize Ukrainian political prisoner“Will they arrest children next?” Gravely ill political prisoner speaks out for other victims; Amnesty International for himRussia offers dangerously ill Crimean Tatar political prisoner his life for a ‘confession’Disabled and gravely ill Crimean Tatar political prisoner denied medicationRussian occupiers are doing everything to kill imprisoned Crimean Tatar amputeeRussian FSB rejects imprisoned Crimean Tatar activist’s alibi in favour of their ‘secret witness’Russia sentences Crimean Tatar to 10 years for alleged involvement in ‘Ukrainian battalion’Russia stages mystery arrest for new propaganda about ‘Crimean Tatar battalion’Russia’s imprisonment of disabled Crimean Tatar activist is a death sentence without a crime or trialGravely ill Crimean Tatar activist jailed for a crime he physically couldn’t have committedRussia jails disabled Crimean Tatar activist on grotesquely absurd chargesKremlin"s Ukrainian political prisoner issues impassioned plea to US State Secretary BlinkenHow Russia fakes ‘proof’ to imprison Crimean Tatar civic activists and journalists First Russia came for the journalists. and now it"s hiding their trials Former Kremlin hostages put release of all Ukrainian political prisoners on the agenda Crimean Resistance to Russian Aggression and Moscow’s Savage Revenge

Gravely ill Crimean Tatar activist released after 258 days of cruel torture

28.08.2019
Halya Coynash

58-year-old Edem Bekirov has been released from detention 258 days after being seized by the Russian FSB while trying to enter Crimea to visit his elderly mother. There were never any grounds for detaining him, and Bekirov’s grave medical condition should have precluded any form of imprisonment, which for a person in his state was tantamount to torture.  The court ruling on 27 August was therefore correct, but over 8 months too late.  Bekirov’s lawyer, Alexei Ladin suggests that the release may have been as a result of the first proper medical examination that Bekirov was given in all this time.  Russian-controlled courts do not take any decisions independently in such politically-motivated cases, so the fact that the Central District Court in Simferopol did not even order house arrest was doubtless a decision from Moscow.  Given the rumours still rife of a planned exchange involving political prisoners, it is likely that Ukraine had also demanded Bekirov’s release as part of any agreement.

Bekirov was seized by the FSB on 12 December, 2018, when he tried to cross into Crimea to visit his elderly mother and other relatives.  The 58-year-old is a well-known member of the Crimean Tatar community in the Kherson oblast, but it is likely that the FSB targeted him because of his wife, Gulnara Bekirova Aldinova, who is a member of the Mejlis, or representative assembly, of the Crimean Tatar people.  Russia’s ban of the Mejlis was directly linked with the latter’s implacable opposition to Russia’s occupation of Crimea and identification with Ukraine.  It is refusing to comply with an order from the UN International Court of Justice to withdraw the ban on this self-governing body of the main indigenous people of Crimea.  Instead it has repeatedly fabricated criminal charges against  Mejlis leaders and other respected Crimean Tatars.  This is not the first time that men in their fifties and sixties, with life-threatening medical conditions have been held for months in the Simferopol SIZO or remand prison where the conditions are tantamount to torture.

There had been calls from many democratic countries for Bekirov’s release and Amnesty International issued an Urgent Action. Then on 3 August, Human Rights Watch issued a statement noting that Russia was flouting a European Court of Human Rights order, and calling for him to be given expert medical care.

Even Russian law precludes incarceration of suspects or accused who have certain illnesses or conditions. Several conditions that Bekirov has, including an amputated limb that requires constant medical attention and a severe neurological disease affecting his spine and legs, are included in a 2011 government regulation on this issue.  Bekirov had also undergone major heart surgery in 2018 and also suffers from diabetes.

The first priority was, of course, for Bekirov to receive proper treatment, however the very charges against him were totally grotesque.

An amputee, who walks with difficulty and swiftly gets out of breath, is charged with circulating and transporting more than 10 kilograms of TNT and 190 bullets ((under Article 222 § 2 of Russia’s criminal code).  According to the FSB’s ‘secret witness’ whom they call ‘Memetov’, Bekirov passed the explosives and bullets to him in May 2018. Memetov purportedly placed them in a secret hiding place around Krasnoperekopsk and then in August revealed this place to the Russian FSB and gave testimony against Bekirov.

Although it is a major relief that Bekirov has been released, the absurd charges have not been dropped.

 

 

comments: 0     
In order to post comments, you need tosign up and/or log in
 Share this