MENU

Similar articles

How Russia fakes ‘proof’ to imprison Crimean Tatar civic activists and journalists Russian court blocks evidence confirming FSB torture of Crimean Tatar political prisonerRussian court removes Crimean Tatar political prisoners for speaking their native language Russia begins its most repressive trial of Crimean Tatar journalists and activistsRussia prevents jailed Crimean Tatar activists facing 20-year sentences from learning what they’re charged withRussia uses multiple clone trials to hide mass operation against Crimean Tatar human rights movementCrimean Tatar civic activist could face life sentence for retracting ‘confession’ given under tortureRussian court revokes detention of Crimean Tatar civic journalist, but refuses to release himSushchenko & Aseyev: You helped get us released, now help imprisoned Crimean civic journalists25 Crimean Tatar activists charged with trying to violently overthrow Russia through their wordsRussia uses torture-like conditions to try to break imprisoned Crimean Tatar civic activistsBitter echoes of Stalin’s Deportation in Russia’s persecution of Crimean TatarsSolitary confinement in torture-like conditions for reporting on human rights abuse in occupied CrimeaRussia breaks all records in Crimea with level of persecution of 8 Crimean TatarsRussia brings charges of ‘planning to violently seize power’ for Crimean Solidarity with political prisonersRussia fights Crimean Solidarity with long prison sentences and shattered childhoodsCrimean Tatar Civic Activists arrested in new offensive against Crimea SolidarityCrimean Tatar faces huge sentence in Russian FSB’s ‘machine of wholesale persecution’FSB’s ‘secret witness’ exposed during trial of 6 Crimean political prisonersRussia condemned for launching ‘machine of wholesale persecution’ in occupied Crimea

Crimean Tatar journalist faces 15-year sentence for ‘planning to overthrow the Russian regime’ with book on being alone with God

11.05.2021
Halya Coynash

Osman Arifmemetov in court, April 2021 Photo Crimean Solidarity

Osman Arifmemetov had every reason to know Russia’s notorious ‘military court’ in Rostov-on-Don well, having reported on the ‘trials’ of very many Crimean Tatar political prisoners.  Since 27 March 2019, the 35-year-old Crimean Solidarity civic journalist has himself been imprisoned, and he is now reporting on his own ‘trial’.

Arifmemetov is one of 25 Crimean Tatars arrested in Russia’s most flagrant ‘operation’ aimed at silencing civic activists and journalists.  The offensive and the absurd ‘terrorism’ charges received international condemnation.  It is doubtless partly to minimize publicity that Russia has now divided the men into groups of five with each of these five cloned ‘trials’ essentially identical.  Arifmemetov’s reports, published by Graty, are about his group, which includes two other civic journalists: Rustem Sheikhaliev and Ruslan Suleimanov, as well as two civic activists: Enver Ametov and Yashar Muyedinov.  Although he can only write about his own hearings, his reports give an understanding of all the trials since all 25 men are facing the same charges.  The evidence in all cases consists of ‘prohibited books’ planted by the armed FSB men who burst into their homes; of the testimony of totally secret witnesses; and of illicitly taped conversations about religion, courage, political persecution, which FSB-loyal ‘experts’ have claimed ‘prove’ that the men are involved in Hizb ut-Tahrir.  This peaceful, pan-Islamist movement is legal in Ukraine, but Russia’s Supreme Court declared it ‘terrorist’ in 2003. Since 2015 it has been using such ‘Hizb ut-Tahrir cases’ in occupied Crimea, especially against civic activists.  The tapes do not contain any mention of Hizb ut-Tahrir, and the alleged ‘experts’ resort to inaccurate claims about this (common Crimean Tatar) word or that being only used by Hizb ut-Tahrir followers. All of the men are recognized political prisoners, and their release has been demanded by the UN General Assembly; the European Parliament and others.

In the first two of Arifmemetov’s very powerful reports, he described how his group affirmed their right to address the court in Crimean Tatar and the court’s resistance, and how they, and their chosen lawyers, had had to really struggle to force the court to stop foisting appointed lawyers on them.  Russia often uses such ‘lawyers’ to effectively deprive defendants of proper legal representation. In this case, where the men all have proper lawyers as well, they were also a method of preventing family members who had travelled the long distance from Crimea from being present in court.   The men all have wives and children, and have been imprisoned in the inhuman conditions of Russian or Russian-controlled remand prisons for over two years. 

Arifmemetov’s third report, on the 6 April hearing, is entitled “A Conversation about Courage”.  That was what the men had discussed during the illicitly taped conversation that the prosecution is trying to claim ‘proves involvement in Hizb ut-Tahrir’.  It is worth noting that Russian academics recently initiated a new project aimed at exposing the so-called ‘experts’ who provide the FSB with the ‘opinions’ that the latter demand of them. The first 15 cases outlined on the Dissernet.org website include the four ‘experts’ collaborating with the Russian FSB to sentence  Crimean Tatar human rights activist Emir-Usein Kuku and five other Crimean prisoners of conscience, to up to 19 years without any crime. 

Arifmemetov has already received at least one literary award for his writing from prison and his report here is very powerful.  It is also extremely upsetting as the appalling conditions that the men are held in and the manner in which they are brought to the court would be unacceptable even where men are accused, with grounds, of serious crimes.  The men here are not even accused of any recognizable crime, though all face sentences of 10-20 years.

Conversation about courage

The prosecutor began reading out the alleged ‘evidence’, namely the lecture on courage which the men attended.

Pronouncing the non-Russian words and names with difficulty, he reads a lecture on courage. The monotonous reading does not attract the judges’ interest.  What are they thinking about?  Hardly about justice. Such thoughts are not for those who have bowed down before the system.” 

He quotes a few lines from Bill Browder’s book ‘Red Notice’ (about Moscow’s persecution following Browder’s campaign that led to the Magnitsky List).  Browder talks of such courtrooms as representative of today’s Russia, with a presiding judge who is subservient to the regime and where endless lies prevail.  “A place where 2 x 2 = 5, where white is always black and up is always down. A place where guilt and the sentence are predetermined.”

The prosecution, Arifmemetov explains, claim that this meeting, where men discussed the importance and the meaning of courage, was actually a ‘khalakat’, or ‘conspiratorial meeting of members of Hizb ut-Tahrir’. 

He quotes a few passages, which seem entirely unobjectionable and most certainly not in any way incriminating.  Presiding judge Viacheslav Korsakov clearly didn’t see the point of hearing about courage either and demanded to know who ‘M1’, ‘M2’, etc. were.  When the prosecutor asserted that this would become clear when the ‘expert assessments’ were read out, Korsakov demanded that he “save time” now. 

The lawyers asked the court to be allowed to see the material that the prosecutor was reeling off since they had not seen the document in question.  Typically, Korsakov refused.

The prosecutor had, however, understood that Korsakov wanted him to hurry, and went on to speed-read only the conclusion of the so-called linguistic-religious assessment.  The document did not mention any of the men on trial, and no information was provided as to who had prepared it, and how the individual was (or was not) qualified to give an opinion.  After the defence again objected, the prosecutor revealed that the ‘portrait expert assessment’ was carried out by an expert on explosives.  The latter presumably needed some occupation since, despite the terrorism charges, not one of the men is accused of any actual offence and no explosives or anything of that nature were found during the armed searches.

“The judge hurries the proceedings along.  Out of the material evidence, taken  during the search, the prosecutor lists: “The psychology of a man: diagnosis of illness and method of treatment”; “Text on spending the night alone with God”; a brochure on carrying out Muslim prayers [namaz].

I’m outraged.  “Are you serious? For being alone with God in the night they are accusing me of an attempt to overthrow the constitutional order of a world nuclear power?”

Osman Arifmemetov; Enver Ametov; Yashar Muyedinov and Rustem Sheikhaliev are all charged with ‘involvement’ in a supposed Hizb ut-Tahrir  group, under Article 205.5 § 2 of Russia’s criminal code.  This charge alone (without any terrorism, or even proof of actual involvement) carries a sentence of 10 -20 years.   Ruslan Suleimanov has been designated one of the ‘organizers’ (Article 205.5 § 1), with that at present resulting in sentences of 17 years or much higher.  In March 2020, all 25 men were also charged, by the country which used soldiers without insignia to invade and annex Ukrainian Crimea, under Article 278 of Russia’s illegally applied criminal code, with “planning a violent seizure of power and change in Russia’s constitutional order”. 

Please write to Osman Arifmemetov and, if possible, to some of the other men! 

The letters tell them they are not forgotten, and show Moscow that the ‘trials’ now underway are being followed.  Letters need to be in Russian, and on ‘safe’ subjects.  If that is a problem, use the sample letter below (copying it by hand), perhaps adding a picture or photo. Do add a return address so that the men can answer.  The addresses can be written in either Russian or in English transcription.  The particular addressee’s name and year of birth need to be given.

Sample letter

Привет,

Желаю Вам здоровья, мужества и терпения, надеюсь на скорое освобождение. Простите, что мало пишу – мне трудно писать по-русски, но мы все о Вас помним.

[Hi.  I wish you good health, courage and patience and hope that you will soon be released.  I’m sorry that this letter is short – it’s hard for me to write in Russian., but you are not forgotten. ]  

Osman Arifmemetov (born 28.08.1985) is a Maths and IT teacher and programmer by profession, but responded to the mounting repression after 2014 by becoming a civic journalists reporting for Crimean Solidarity on searches, arrests and court hearings.

Address:

344022 Russian Federation, Rostov on the Don, 219 Maxim Gorky St, SIZO-1

Arifmemetov, Osman Feratovych, b. 1985

Enver Ametov

344022 Russian Federation, Rostov on the Don, 219 Maxim Gorky St, SIZO-1

Ametov, Enver Efindiyarovych, b. 1975

Yashar Muyedinov

344022 Russian Federation, Rostov on the Don, 219 Maxim Gorky St, SIZO-1

Muyedinov, Yashar Seifetdinovych, b. 1968

Rustem Sheikhaliev

344022 Russian Federation, Rostov on the Don, 219 Maxim Gorky St, SIZO-1

Sheikhaliev, Rustem Dinarovych, b. 1979

Ruslan Suleimanov

344022 Russian Federation, Rostov on the Don, 219 Maxim Gorky St, SIZO-1

Suleimanov, Ruslan Serverovych, b. 1983

The other men, grouped as per FSB clone trial.

One

Rayim Aivazov

344022 Russian Federation, Rostov on the Don, 219 Maxim Gorky St, SIZO-1

Aivazov, Rayim Khalilovych, b. 1994

Farkhod Bazarov

344064, Russia, Rostov on the Don, 4 Tonnelnaya St., SIZO-5

Bazarov, Farkhod Egamberdievych, b. 1986

Remzi Bekirov

344022 Russian Federation, Rostov on the Don, 219 Maxim Gorky St, SIZO-1

Bekirov, Remzi Rustemovych, b. 1985

Riza Izetov

344022 Russian Federation, Rostov on the Don, 219 Maxim Gorky St, SIZO-1

Izetov, Riza Mustafayevych, b. 1979

Shaban Umerov

344022 Russian Federation, Rostov on the Don, 219 Maxim Gorky St, SIZO-1

Umerov, Shaban Izetovych, b. 1969

Three

Tofik Abdulgaziev,

344022 Russian Federation, Rostov on the Don, 219 Maxim Gorky St, SIZO-1

Abdulgaziev, Tofik Sultanovych, b. 1982

Vladlen Abdulkadyrov

344022 Russian Federation, Rostov on the Don, 219 Maxim Gorky St, SIZO-1

Abdulkadyrov, Vladlen Vasilyevych, b. 1979

Izzet Abdullayev

344022 Russian Federation, Rostov on the Don, 219 Maxim Gorky St, SIZO-1

Abdullayev, Izet Mustafayevych, b. 1986

Medzhit Abdurakhmanov

344022 Russian Federation, Rostov on the Don, 219 Maxim Gorky St, SIZO-1

Abdurakhmanov, Medzhit Anafiyevych, b. 1975

Bilyal Adilov

344022 Russian Federation, Rostov on the Don, 219 Maxim Gorky St, SIZO-1

Adilov, Bilyal Abdurakhmanovych, b. 1970

Four

Dzhemil Gafarov

344064, Russia, Rostov on the Don, 4 Tonnelnaya St., SIZO-5

Gafarov, Dzhemal Abdullayevych, b. 1962

Servet Gaziev

344064, Russia, Rostov on the Don, 4 Tonnelnaya St., SIZO-5

Gaziev, Servet Abdurayimovych, b. 1960

Alim Karimov

344022 Russian Federation, Rostov on the Don, 219 Maxim Gorky St, SIZO-1

Karimov, Alim Egamberdievych, b. 1994

Seiran Murtaza

344022 Russian Federation, Rostov on the Don, 219 Maxim Gorky St, SIZO-1

Murtaza, Seiran Kemadinovych, b. 1983

Erfan Osmanov

344064, Russia, Rostov on the Don, 4 Tonnelnaya St., SIZO-5

Osmanov, Erfan Serverovych, b. 1982

Five

Akim Bekirov

344022 Russian Federation, Rostov on the Don, 219 Maxim Gorky St, SIZO-1

Bekirov, Akim Ekremovych, b. 1988

Seitveli Seitabdiev

344022 Russian Federation, Rostov on the Don, 219 Maxim Gorky St, SIZO-1

Seitabdiev, Seitveli Eskenderovych, b. 1994

Rustem Seitkhalilov

344022 Russian Federation, Rostov on the Don, 219 Maxim Gorky St, SIZO-1

Seitkhalilov, Rustem Narimanovych,  b. 1984

Eskender Suleimanov

344022 Russian Federation, Rostov on the Don, 219 Maxim Gorky St, SIZO-1

Suleimanov, Eskender Serverovych, b. 1973

Asan Yanikov

344022 Russian Federation, Rostov on the Don, 219 Maxim Gorky St, SIZO-1

Yanikov, Asan Aliyevych, b. 1986

 

 Share this