Crimean activist Lisa Bohutska detained
The occupation regime in Crimea is continuing its pressure on dissident voices. This time well-known Crimean activist and blogger Liza Bohutska has been targeted, almost certainly for his civic position and opposition to Russian rule
Well-known Crimean activist and blogger Liza [Elizaveta] Bohutska was taken away by enforcement officers on Monday morning after a search of her home. The police also removed all her computer technology.
According to her husband Oles, the officers claimed to be looking for weapons, drugs and prohibited literature. They took her to the police station and removed computers, laptops, memory cards and an automatic video register.
Bohutska was released late in the afternoon. She explains that at the police station, there was no more talk about Molotov cocktails, ammunition etc. Instead they wanted to know first about her participation in the events on May 3.
As reported, on that day some 5 thousand Crimean Tatars and other Ukrainians, including Bohutska, came to meet veteran Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemiliev at the border with the Kherson oblast. It had become clear the day before that the 5-year-ban which Russia had imposed on this world-renowned figure was indeed being enforced. The Crimean occupation regime sent OMON riot police and other officers there in large numbers and then imposed administrative fines on around 100 people who protested against the ban by temporarily blocking roads. Some criminal cases were also initiated with the puppet regime’s ‘prosecutor’ Natalya Poklonskaya claiming that the actions fell under the Russian law against ‘extremism’.
Poklonskaya has been claiming ‘extremism’ ever since with this being the excuse for a similar ban on the head of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, Refat Chubarov and publisher and Mejlis adviser, Ismet Yuksel.
In fact, however, it appears that a major crackdown is underway in the Crimea and it is likely that the protests on May 3 are simply a pretext for a large number of searches and interrogations. Mustafa Osmanov, for example, was probably targeted since he actively took products from his village in the Crimea to provide EuroMaidan protesters with hot food. He also has a Ukrainian flag on the car.
Bohutska told Radio Svoboda that the officers wanted to know if she had material inciting people to inter-ethnic enmity in her computer. They asked about her attitude to Russia, its president Vladimir Putin, etc.
A criminal investigation is, they claimed, underway. “Supposedly when they were crossing the border with the Crimea, some shots were heard, somebody pulled somebody by the hand and insulted some police officer called Krupsky.” He is supposed to have shot in turn, and Bohutska was asked whether she had anything against Krupsky or the Crimean Tatars who allegedly pulled him by the hand.
The police also claimed that there had been denunciations from her neighbours, and alleged that her posts on Facebook were “of an extremist nature”. It would seem that some neighbours who don’t like her attitude to the Russian Federation and its annexation of the Crimea may have ‘denounced’ her. Bohutska says that one of them walked out with Bohutska and the officers, smiling and clearly pleased.
Bohutska does not believe that her interrogation was connected with the events of May 3, and suspects it to be linked with the coming elections.
She believes that the Crimean occupation government is likely to try to isolate people with an active civic stand so that they don’t make the elections look bad. There are also efforts at the moment to persuade Crimean Tatars to take part in the elections which the Mejlis has called on all compatriots to boycott. Efforts to persuade Crimean Tatars that all is well and that Russia will be going all out to protect their interests have been accompanied by extremely worrying measures aimed at undermining the Mejlis and even imposing a more compliant ‘mufiyat” [see: New Muftiat and Mosque Seizures as Divide and Rule in the Crimea?].