Abducted Crimean Tatar beaten, tortured and abandoned after ‘voluntarily’ entering FSB office
It took the FSB in Russian-occupied Crimea over 24 hours to admit that Renat Paralamov had been in their offices, and then they came up with the surreal claim that he had ‘voluntarily’ returned there after being released on Wednesday afternoon. It remains unclear what this latest FSB abduction was intended to achieve, but Paralamov is now recovering from the beating, electric shocks and other forms of torture he was subjected to before being abandoned at a coach station in Simferopol.
As reported, the young father of four small children was seized after men in masks turned up at the family home before 6 a.m. on September 13, and carried out something that they called “an inspection”.
They did not identify themselves, and the two men who had insignia indicating the FSB [Russian security service] sought to conceal this after a large number of neighbours and friends gathered.
While they gave no indication of who they were, the police who were called silently retreated into the background after speaking with them, and later followed them in leaving.
Paralamov was taken away and throughout Wednesday every police and FSB office in Crimea denied any knowledge of his whereabouts. Lawyer Mammet Mambetov reported late in the evening that he had been told that Paralamov was “alive and well”.
He is, thankfully, alive, however anything but well after the treatment he received.
The search for him intensified on Thursday morning, and a Nizhnegorsk police officer, citing the FSB, told the crowd gathered that Paralamov was at the FSB in Simferopol being questioned. This, it was claimed without a shred of credibility, was after Paralamov had been released on 16.00 on Wednesday afternoon, but had allegedly arrived at the FSB ‘voluntarily’ “to add something to his explanation”.
Lawyer Emil Kurbedinov was meanwhile being assured by a duty officer at the Simferopol FSB that Paralamov was not on the premises. It was later claimed that Kurbedinov had not identified himself and they did not know who he was. The excuse is as feeble as the claim that Paralamov came to the FSB voluntarily. Kurbedinov is defending many of the increasing number of political prisoners under Russian occupation and he is well-known to the FSB.. In any case he had his ID on him, and a letter authorizing him to represent Paralamov.
The FSB, however, resorted to still further lawlessness, dumping Paralamov in the early afternoon at the coach station Vostochnaya, from where he was rescued in a terrible state. He was taken to hospital scarcely able to walk and totally incapable of speaking.
Later on Thursday evening, he spoke about the torture he had been subjected to. He was held with a bag over his head from early evening on Wednesday, until around 1 p.m. on Thursday. They dealt blows to his body and also took down his trousers and taped rods through which they periodically gave him electric shocks.
Two ‘doctors’ were also clearly implicated in this torture. He was given an injection at one point, and has no idea what they injected. Then a woman doctor turned up to check him over, claimed he was “pretending and lying” and left. They then taped him again, with a belt around his head and set to pulling him.
The pain was obviously intolerable, but Paralamov still has to force out the words that he signed the papers they thrust in front of him in which he gave false testimony against himself and others. It should be stressed that any such 'testimony' was obtained by men who had not identified themselves, nor drawn up any protocol of detention, and who had at no time informed Paralamov that he was under suspicion.
Emil Kurbedinov has stated that they will not only be lodging complaints locally, but also to the UN Committee against Torture and Committee on Enforced Disappearances. Everything, he stresses, the insignia that was later concealed, the caps the men were wearing, etc. makes it quite clear that the FSB was behind this abduction and torture of Renat Paralamov.
Refat Chubarov, Head of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis, writes that the young man’s family and other Crimean Tatars are convinced that if this flagrant abduction had not gained so much publicity, Renat Paralamov would have been found dead, as has been the case with other abducted Crimean Tatars.
At very least 15 Crimeans, most Crimean Tatar, have disappeared without trace under Russian occupation. The lack of any effort by the occupation authorities to find the men and especially strange behaviour following the abduction of Ervin Ibragimov, a member of the World Congress of Crimean Tatars can only strengthen the suspicion that the occupation authorities know exactly who was behind Ibragimov’s abduction.
What makes the situation even more chilling is the overlap between abductions and political persecution. This is seen most vividly in the attempt to abduct human rights activist Emir-Usein Kuku, just over a year before Ibragimov was seized. In Kuku’s case, the men clearly contacted the FSB when a crowd gathered. He was arrested on different fabricated charges on February 11, 2016, and remains imprisoned to this day.