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08.07.2019 | Halya Coynash

Help stop Russia from killing Crimean Tatar political prisoner Edem Bekirov!

Edem Bekirov in 'court', Photo Anton Naumliuk
   

Lawyers representing imprisoned Crimean Tatar activist Edem Bekirov have approached the European Court of Human Rights, requesting that it force Russia to comply with its order and hospitalize Bekirov. In the meantime, a Russian doctor has launched a petition demanding what Russian law itself demands, that the authorities stop putting the 58-year-old amputee’s life in danger.

The Court in Strasbourg applied Rule No. 39 on 11 June , ordering Russia to place Bekirov in hospital.  The order is binding, yet Russia has still not complied.  First the ‘investigator’ Ivan Romanets claimed that they were unable to confirm or refute whether the document from the European Court of Human Rights was authentic.  Then Bekirov was taken for half-hour examinations to an endrocrinologist and cardiologist, both of whom ‘concluded’, as they knew was expected of them, that all was fine. Anything else might have got them into trouble, but upbeat noises cannot conceal the serious illnesses that Bekirov suffers from.  His lawyer, Alexei Ladin, says that they are now gathering supplementary medical documents from independent specialists which will demonstrate the lack of any substance to the Russian medical assessment given in January this year and the empty assurances given in attempted excuse for refusing to comply with the ECHR order.

Ladin also points out that all the medication which Bekirov is taking has been provided by his family which means that Russia is also proving incapable of ensuring that Bekirov receives proper treatment.

A Russian doctor, Olga Mazurova has initiated a petition which clearly points to the requirement in Russian legislation that people who are seriously ill be released from detention.  This has been ignored in Bekirov’s case since 12 December 2018, despite entirely unequivocal medical evidence, some of which Mazurova, as a doctor, outlines.  In brief, Bekirov has grade 1 invalid status and has, since 1999, had persistent problems with arterial circulation.  It was seemingly in connection with this that in 2005 he needed to have the lower right leg amputated.  In 2018 he suffered a major heart attack and now has four cardiac shunts to regulate blood pressure, and also has diabetes, although at home in the Kherson oblast, he was able to get by taking tablets.  In the SIZO, however, the only measure they seem to recognize is insulin injections, which initially caused an allergic reaction. 

He was due to have a further operation regarding the cardiac shunts on 16 December 2018, but had been seized six days earlier by the FSB while trying to enter Crimea to visit his elderly mother.

The FSB accuse him of circulating and transporting more than 10 kilograms of DNT and 190 bullets ((under Article 222 § 2 of Russia’s criminal code).  The charges are based solely on the ‘testimony’ of a supposed witnesses, identified only by his last name, ‘Memetov’, who has claimed that Bekirov passed the explosives and bullets to him in May 2018.  Memetov purportedly placed them in a secret hiding place around Krasnoperekopsk and then in August revealed this place to the Russian FSB and gave testimony against Bekirov.

The petition “leaves it to the investigators and court” to consider how the then 57-year-old who can’t walk without a crutch and who would have difficulty lifting a one and a half litre bottle of water, could have carried such a huge amount of explosives. There are in fact other issues that make Bekirov’s ongoing detention so shocking, including the fact that he has an alibi for the time of the alleged ‘crime’.

The petition concentrates on the fact that Bekirov’s state of health means that “he has very little chance of living not only to the sentence, but even to the end of the investigation.”

It demands:

that Bekirov is examined by independent doctors without delay;

that he is immediately hospitalized for independent examination; correct choice of medication for his diabetes and to decide on the cardiac shunt operation;

that a decision is taken that Bekirov cannot be held in detention because of the state of his health, with this in full accordance with a Russian Government Resolution from 14 January 2017.

It is never clear what can have impact on the Kremlin, however without pressure, it is likely that Bekirov’s life will remain gravely jeopardized.

Please sign and widely share the petition here!

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