war crimes in Ukraine

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Two Crimean Tatar students disappear in the Crimea

Update: There are entirely divergent reports emerging in the media, all saying that one of the young men - Belyal Bilyavov - has been found dead, but varying radically as to the cause of death. A full update will be provided as soon as possible

Artem Dairabekov                           Belyal Bilyalov

UPDATE:  There are entirely divergent reports emerging in the media, all saying that one of the young men - Belyal Bilyavov - has been found dead, but varying radically as to the cause of death.  A full update will be provided as soon as possible.  Many hours later it remains difficult to give any definite information.  According to one report, presumably based on information from the authorities, Belyal Bilyavov died from smoking spice [synthetic marijuana, though something more toxic must have been involved if this is true].  The doctors are reported to have "managed to save Artem Dairabekov.  The other report (the first of the two) cites the head of the Krym NGO in Poland, Rusa Asaanov as saying that one young man was found dead, with signs of torture, while the other is alive, but injured.

Two students have been missing for around 24 hours and in the climate of fear after recent abductions and disappearances, concern is mounting.  Artem Dairabekov, a first year student at the Tavrida National University set off for the university from his home in Simferopol on Monday at around noon.  He dropped his little sister off at school and was supposed to pick her up at 6 p.m.  He did not arrive and his telephone is switched off.  His parents say that Artem is extremely responsible and would never have simply not turned up.  They are understandably worried.

Artem’s aunt, Lilya Belyalova, has told Krym. Realii that his mother is beside herself with worry.  The family has reported his disappearance to the police, and are ringing friends, hospitals etc.

According to Artem’s family, the other young student with whom all contact has been lost – Belyal Bilyalov is Artem’s friend.

Not counting these two young men, there have been four abductions or disappearances since Sept 27

25-year-old Crimean Tatar,  Edem Asanov was found dead in an abandoned sanatorium in Yevpatoria, a week after his family reported that he had disappeared on Sept 29.   The authorities are claiming that Edem killed himself.

In the early evening of Sept 27, two young Crimean Tatars were abducted from Sary-Su near Belogorsk in the Crimea.  19-year-old Islam Dzhepparov and his 23-year-old cousin Dzhevdet Islamov were forced into a dark blue Volkswagen Transporter and taken away in the direction of Feodosiya. 

The police and FSB [Russian security service] have denied any part in the abduction.  Scepticism about such denials was first expressed by Refat Chubarov, head of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis or representative body.  It is further exacerbated by their supposed failure to find the young men despite having all details, including the number of the minivan in which they were taken away.

Hundreds of Crimean Tatars gathered the next day outside Islam Dzhepparov’s home.  Islam’s father had a meeting with the head of the occupation government Sergei Aksyonov on Oct. 1.   Abdureshit Dzhepaparov  says that everything was done to provoke Crimean Tatars to make measures in retaliations. “On the roofs around the building where the meeting took place there were a lot of snipers, people saw jeeps with men carrying machine guns, and around the city there were a lot of soldiers.”

Edem Asanov disappeared two days later.

23-year-old Crimean Tatar Apselymov Eskender has not been seen since Oct 3 when he left his flat in Simferopol and headed for work.  He did not arrive, and there is no answer from his telephone. 

The abductions / disappearances have coincided with a sharp escalation in repressive measures against the Crimean Tatars and attempts, including through the Russian media, to claim that ‘radical Muslims’ are planning violent acts in the Crimea.

Both Chubarov and Ali Khamzin from the Mejlis have drawn chilling comparisons with the Russian authorities behaviour in Chechnya.  Khamzin believes that the recent events in the Crimea are developing according to a ‘Chechen scenario’.  He recalls that at the beginning of armed conflicts in Chechnya and other parts of the Caucuses there were abductions and disappearances, media claims of radicalization and of groups of fighters forming, and, as a result more active measures by the Russian enforcement bodies against particular groups  (See: Bogus claims of ’Muslim radicalism’ as weapon against the Crimean Tatars)

Halya Coynash


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