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13.11.2018 | Halya Coynash

Mustafa Dzhemilev, Crimean Tatar leader, moral hero of Ukraine and Russian enemy No. 1 turns 75

Mustafa Dzhemilev Photo Stanislav Yorchenko, RFERL, children waiting outside 'court' in hope of seeing their fathers
   

Mustafa Dzhemilev, veteran Crimean Tatar leader and one of Ukraine’s most respected moral leaders, is turning 75 on 13 November.  It will be his fifth birthday banned by the Russian occupiers from his native Crimea.  Plans are, of course, afoot for birthday celebrations in Kyiv, however he has made a particular request for his birthday, namely that it be made a special day for the children of the ever-mounting number of political prisoners under Russian occupation.  There are already 113 children whose fathers have been arrested on politically motivated charges and/or for their faith. 

Virtually all of these prisoners, Dzhemilev writes, are facing maximum terms of imprisonment on overtly wrongful and fabricated charges. 

“For us all children of Crimean political prisoners, regardless of their nationality, are children of the Crimean Tatar people”. 

Please don’t spend money on presents for him, he says, but “let us together make this a festive day for the children of political prisoners”.

These are the youngest victims of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.  For details of how we can all help, please scroll below.

Mustafa Dzhemilev was six months old when the entire Crimean Tatar people were deported from Crimea, a crime now recognized by Ukraine as an act of genocide.  He spent 15 years in Soviet labour camps, persecuted for his leading role in the struggle for the right of the Crimean Tatars to return to their homeland and for human rights generally. 

He has for many decades been held in immense respect by all freedom-loving people for his courage and unwavering commitment to non-violent means of protest in defence of fundamental rights. 

He was, for all those reasons, hated by the Soviet regime, and swiftly became enemy No. 1 of the Russian occupiers after the invasion and annexation in the Spring of 2014. 

The Kremlin had tried to woo him, but discovered rapidly enough that neither he, nor the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis, which he headed until 2013, would accept Russian occupation. 

Dzhemilev is also a long-standing Ukrainian MP, and has been President Petro Poroshenko’s Ombudsman on Crimean Tatar Affairs since 2014. It was because of other commitments that Dzhemilev only returned to Crimea for the first time after Russia’s invasion on 19 April 2014.  He and the current leader of the Mejlis, Refat Chubarov, were initially stopped by armed men who claimed that they had been declared person non grata, but they were finally let through.

As soon as Dzhemilev arrived at the Mejlis offices in Simferopol, he noticed that the Ukrainian flag had been removed from over the building, and ordered that it be reinstated.   It may have been that, as well as the huge welcome Dzhemilev received, that prompted Russia to give up any pretence so soon. 

By 22 April,  Dzhemilev had been handed a document which called him a ‘foreign national’, as a citizen of Ukraine, and banned him from entering Crimea under Russian occupation (the document is officially about entry to the Russian Federation) until April 19, 2019.  A cruel farce followed with both Russia and the puppet regime it had installed in Crimea claiming to know nothing about the ban before imposing it on 2 May.

Since then Russia has intensified its offensive against the Mejlis and persecution of several members, and has actively sought to both discredit Dzhemilev and justify its ban by coming up with surreal criminal charges.

Its attempts have been futile.  There was international condemnation of Russia’s banning of the Mejlis in April 2016, and Russia has been ordered by the UN’s International Court of Justice to revoke what has been termed a declaration of war against the Crimean Tatar people.  Mustafa Dzhemilev has received countless honours and is received at very high level in the countries he visits in his tireless efforts to ensure that the world knows what Russia is doing to his homeland and its people.

We can all help

Many of the 113 children of political prisoners were themselves present when armed men brandishing machine guns burst into their homes, forced their fathers to the ground and took them away in handcuffs.  The men had committed no crime, and in many cases have been targeted for their civic or human rights activism. 

See:

Russia fights Crimean Solidarity with long prison sentences and shattered childhoods

The Crimean childhoods Russia ended in just a few brutal moments

Dzhemilev has asked that donations be sent to the Crimea Fund, with the words: «Допомога дітям кримських політв’язнів» / To help the children of Crimean political prisoners  (English alone should be fine).

The Crimea Fund’s bank details:

For people in Ukraine:

Recipient       The Crimea Fund Charity  (Благотворительная организация «ФОНД «КРЫМ»

ЕГРПОУ                                               19008458

UAH account                                        26001052751969 in Privatbank

USDaccount26007052742789  in Privatbank

EUR account                                        26008052757063 in Privatbank

The MFO of the bank [МФОбанка]       300711

Where it asks about «Назначение платежа» or purpose of the payment, choose: добровольное пожертвование – donation .

For those outside Ukraine, there are three possible ways of sending money

In US dollars:

Company name:                                  ФОНД КРИМ БО

The bank account of the company:     26007052742789

Name of the bank:                                PJSC CB “PRIVATBANK”, 1D HRUSHEVSKOHO STR.,

KYIV, 01001,UKRAINE

Bank SWIFT Code:                              PBANUA2X

Company address:                              UA  01014 м Київ вул. Болсунівська д.2

IBAN Code:                                          UA253007110000026007052742789

Account in the correspondent bank:   001-1-000080

SWIFT code of the correspondent bank: CHASUS33

Correspondent bank                            JP Morgan Chase Bank, New York, USA

OR

Account in the correspondent bank    890 – 0085 – 754

SWIFT code                                         IRVT US 3N

Correspondent Bank:                          The Bank of New York Mellon New York USA

In euros

Beneficiary:                                                ФОНД КРИМ БО

The bank account of the company:          26008052757063

Name of the bank:                                      PJSC CB “PRIVATBANK”, 1D HRUSHEVSKOHO STR.,

                                                                    KYIV,01001,UKRAINE      

Bank SWIFT Code:                                    PBANUA2X

Company address:                                    UA  01014 м Київ вул. Болсунівська д.2

IBAN Code:                                                 UA603007110000026008052757063

Account in the correspondent bank:       400886700401

SWIFT code of the correspondent bank:

Correspondent Bank:                                Commerzbank AG, Frankfurt am Main,Germany

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