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13.06.2019 | Halya Coynash

Ukrainian turncoat behind persecution of Crimean Tatar rights activist told by prosecutor what he ‘can’t remember’

(from left) Muslim Aliev and Emir-Usein Kuku, Alexander Viktorovich Kompaneitsev during one of the
   

A Crimean FSB officer heavily involved in the persecution of six political prisoners from the Yalta region was told by the prosecutor to ‘not remember’ the answers to numerous questions put by the defence during cross-examination.  There is certainly a lot the prosecution would prefer to hide, including Alexander Kompaneitsev’s involvement in the aborted abduction of human rights activist Emir-Usein Kuku 10 months before he was arrested in this ‘case’ and in the torture and threats used against several men to try to force them to testify against others.  Of the six men facing 10-20-year prison sentences on fabricated charges, at least three are believed to have been targeted because of run-ins or refusal to ‘cooperate’ with Kompaneitsev.

During the seven hours of questioning on 15 May, at least two of the lawyers saw the prosecutor showing a piece of paper to Kompaneitsev with the words “I don’t remember” written on it.  Sergei Legostov even asked the court to tell the prosecutor to stop waving this communication around.  His colleague, Edem Semedlyaev confirmed that Kompaneitsev’s ‘lapses of memory’ seemed directly linked with the piece of paper the prosecutor waved at him, indicating “that he needed to forget the answer to that question”.  Semedlyaev estimates that Kompaneitsev ‘couldn’t remember’ the answer to around half of the questions. 

Kompaneitsev also had a template answer to other questions.  When asked how (with his failing memory!) he was able to rattle off long allegations, he claimed that he had received this information from ‘operational measures’.  Asked by the defence if such ‘measures’ had ever been recorded, Kompaneitsev said no, that he just ‘happened’ to have remembered them.  His testimony was thus based half on what he ‘couldn’t remember’, and half on what he allegedly ‘just remembered’, without any way of verifying this, or on the testimony of ‘secret witnesses’.  None of this, Semedlyaev notes, seems to both the ‘judges’ at all.

Six men are charged with ‘involvement’ in the peaceful pan-Islamist movement Hizb ut-Tahrir which is legal in Ukraine.  In 2003, Russia declared this organization ‘terrorist’, although it is not known to have committed or planned any acts of terrorism or violence anywhere in the world.  In occupied Crimea, ‘Hizb ut-Tahrir’ charges are increasingly being used against civic activists and journalists, especially from the civic initiative Crimean Solidarity.

In Russia, the FSB has used an extra charge, of ‘planning to violently seize power’ under Article 278 of Russia’s criminal code as an additional form of pressure, with it not applied if the men agree to ‘cooperate’ with the investigators by admitting to the charges.  Not one of the Crimean Muslims has agreed to thus ‘cooperate’ and since January 2017, the six Yalta men and all others arrested in so-called ‘Hizb ut-Tahrir cases’ also face this new charge.

It is indicative of the grotesque absurdity of these charges that they were first laid against men particularly targeted by Kompaneitsev, a traitor who betrayed his oath to Ukraine and joined the country which invaded and annexed Ukrainian Crimea.

Kompaneitsev was directly involved in an apparent attempt to abduct Kuku on 20 April 2015. This only turned into an FSB search (and beating) after passers-by heard Kuku’s cries for help and a crowd gathered (details here).

Kuku was the Yalta region representative for the Crimean Tatar Contact Group on Human Rights, and had already faced harassment.  After the assault on him, he tried to get criminal proceedings initiated against the perpetrators, and instead first faced prosecution over Facebook posts, and then,  arrest on Hizb ut-Tahrir charges on 11 February 2016.

Kompaneitsev is also believed to have been behind the cruel terrorization of Kuku’s 9-year-old son (and, seemingly, other children).

He directly threatened to arrest Envir Bekirov’s nephew if Bekirov did not testify against others.  Bekirov refused and his nephew, Refat Alimov was, indeed, arrested, together with the youngest of the men, Arsen Dzhepparov.  He had also twice had visitations from Kompaneitsev with threats of what to expect if he did not agree to ‘work with the FSB’ by denouncing innocent men. 

A friend of Kuku’s, Dinar Minadinov, was also detained on 11 February 2016 and tortured by Kompaneitsev to try to get him to testify against Kuku, Bekirov and the other two men arrested that day: Muslim Aliev and Vadim Siruk.  Minadinov withstood the torture and was released, but left Crimea almost immediately, fearing that he might not be able to hold out if they applied such torture again.  It later transpired that one of Russia’s ‘secret witnesses’ was a man whom Minadinov saw that day at the FSB offices, and it seems very likely that the other man agreed to ‘testify’ under torture.

It is possible that the exposure of that ‘secret witness’ prompted the FSB to stage the abrupt termination of the first ‘trial’.  The excuse given was a shocking one, with the ‘judge’ in the case acting as prosecutor and suggesting that the charges against Bekriov could be made harsher (‘organizing’ a Hizb ut-Tahrir group, not being involved in it). 

More details about the lack of any substance to the charges against the six men who have all been declared political prisoners by the renowned Memorial Human Rights Centre here:

Ominous new twist in Russia’s conveyor belt trial of six Ukrainian political prisoners

Please write to Muslim Aliev; Refat Alimov; Enver Bekirov; Arsen Dzhepparov; Emir-Usein Kuku and Vadim Siruk

The letters tell them they are not forgotten, and show Moscow that the ‘trial’ now underway is being followed. 

Letters need to be in Russian, and on ‘safe’ subjects.  If that is a problem, use the sample letter below (copying it by hand), perhaps adding a picture or photo. Do add a return address so that the men can answer.

Example letter

Привет,

Желаю Вам здоровья, мужества и терпения, надеюсь на скорое освобождение. Простите, что мало пишу – мне трудно писать по-русски, но мы все о Вас помним.

[Hi.  I wish you good health, courage and patience and hope that you will soon be released.  I’m sorry that this letter is short – it’s hard for me to write in Russian., but you are not forgotten. ] 

Addresses

The men have been split up, with Aliev and Kuku in SIZO-4, the other men in SIZO-1 (the differences are small, so please copy carefully).  The address each time, should have the man’s full name, and year of birth.

MuslimAliev

344082 Россия, Ростов-на-Дону, Большая Садовая ул., 31

Алиеву, Муслиму Нуриевичу, 1971 г.р. 

[In English:  344082 Russia, Rostov on the Don, 31 Bolshaya Sadovaya St., SIZO-4

Aliev, Muslim Nurievich, b. 1971 ]

RefatAlimov

344010, Россия, Ростов-на-Дону, ул. Максима Горького, 219 СИЗО-1.

Алимову, Рефату Маметовичу, 1991 г.р.       

[In English:  344010 Russian Federation, Rostov on the Don, 219 Maxim Gorky St, SIZO-1

Alimov, Refat Mametovich, b. 1991 ]

Enver Bekirov

344010, Россия, Ростов-на-Дону, ул. Максима Горького, 219 СИЗО-1.

Бекирову, Энверу Небиевичу, 1963 г.р

[In English:  344010 Russian Federation, Rostov on the Don, 219 Maxim Gorky St, SIZO-1

Bekirov, Enver Nebiyevich, b. 1963 ]

Arsen Dzhepparov

344010, Россия, Ростов-на-Дону, ул. Максима Горького, 219 СИЗО-1.

Джеппарову, Арсену Бармамбетовичу, 1991 г.р.

[In English:  344010 Russian Federation, Rostov on the Don, 219 Maxim Gorky St, SIZO-1

Dzhepparov, Arsen Barmambetovich, b. 1991 ]

Emir-Usein Kuku

344082 Россия, Ростов-на-Дону, Большая Садовая ул., 31

Куку, Эмиру-Усеину Кемаловичу, 1976 г.р.   

[In English:  344082 Russia, Rostov on the Don, 31 Bolshaya Sadovaya St., SIZO-4

Kuku, Emir-Usein Kemalovich, b. 1976 ]

VadimSiruk

344010, Россия, Ростов-на-Дону, ул. Максима Горького, 219 СИЗО-1.

Сируку, Вадиму Андреевичу, 1989 г.р.

[In English:  344010 Russian Federation, Rostov on the Don, 219 Maxim Gorky St, SIZO-1

Siruk, Vadim Andreevich, b. 1989 ]

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