25.02.2015 | Halya Coynash

Mustafa Dzhemiliev: Nadya, daughter, stop your hunger strike. We will save you


Nadiya Savchenko’s latest letter from Russian imprisonment coincides with a poignant appeal from Mustafa Dzhemiliev calling on her to stop her hunger strike using the same argument with which, when he was equally resolute in 1975, Andrei Sakharov saved his life.

First, however, Nadiya Savchenko’s letter expressing gratitude and asking people to support her and Ukraine by participating in the global action on March 1


 I am inexpressibly grateful for all your support, and your avid struggle on my behalf!  In my wildest dreams I couldn’t have imagined such help. 

I am also fighting!  I am not giving up and will not be broken!

This is because I am fighting not only for myself, but against a system which maims and kills only those who fear it and is impotent against those who are fearless.

I am not afraid!  There are many of us here, Ukrainians in Russian prisons.  It’s necessary to get the first out, after that it’s easier to fight for each of them!

Ukrainians have already given the world an example through the Revolution of Dignity of how to fight a glutted criminal regime. Now I and all of Ukraine are forced to fight our neighbour’s iniquitous regime.

Wish me and Ukraine success in this unequal battle, through your support in the global action on March 1, 2015!

With heartfelt gratitude"

Nadiya Savchenko is referring to the Global Day of Action on March 1 (coinciding with a major [we hope] anti-crisis opposition rally in Moscow) when people all over the world will be taking part in a twitter campaign, as well, perhaps, as other protests, calling for Savchenko’s release.

More details at Voices of Ukraine

Nadiya Savchenko has been ingesting water only for many days now, after she refused to take any further glucose injections.  After 74 days on hunger strike her life must certainly be in danger.  She has stated from the beginning that she will not give up and has stood firm even when her elderly mother and sister pleaded with her to stop, saying that she has no other means of fighting the injustice perpetrated against her.

Under such circumstances it would have been presumptious to do anything but respect her decision and undoubted courage. 

On Tuesday, however, one Ukrainian about whose courage and commitment there can be no question also called for Nadiya to give up her hunger strike.  Mustafa Dzhemiliev, Ukrainian MP and veteran Crimean Tatar leader addressed the following words to her:

“Nadya, daughter, there is no sense in continuing the hunger strike. Russia is not a country with humane principles. Here in Ukraine we will definitely save you, but using other means”.

71-year-old Mustafa Dzhemiliev spent 15 years in labour camp during which he declared hunger strike many times.  He once spent 303 days on hunger strike, with the prison doctors force-feeding him when his condition became totally critical.

In an interview for the publication GORDON, he recounted how during the final days of that hunger strike in 1975, he was allowed a visit from his mother and elder brother.  The authorities presumably hoped that they could convince him to give up.  His mother became very distressed and weak, and was taken out.  While she was away, his elder brother said that he had no words that could change Dzhemiliev’s mind, but he did have one last argument.  Through the glass barrier between them he passed his brother a card from Andrei Sakharov, the renowned physicist and human rights defender. 

Sakharov wrote the following words:

Mustafa, son, I’ve done everything I could and I now ask just one thing: enough of this hunger strike – your death will only bring joy to our enemies." 


   Nadiya Savchenko’s letter

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