war crimes in Ukraine

The Tribunal for Putin (T4P) global initiative was set up in response to the all-out war launched by Russia against Ukraine in February 2022.

Another Crimean Tatar charged over pre-annexation demonstration


A fourth Crimean Tatar is in detention charged under Russian legislation in connection with a pre-annexation demonstration which took place under Ukrainian rule and according to Ukrainian law.

Zair Smedlyaev, head of the Qurultay or Crimean Tatar Congress’s Central Election Commission, reports that Eskender Emirvaliyev from the Sudak region was first detained by 4 plain-clothed officers on Feb 18.  They claimed that they were taking him for questioning as witness of a robbery, but on arrival at the Investigative Committee offices in Simferopol he was charged with taking part in the demonstration outside the Crimean parliament on Feb 26. The following evening, around 22.00 15-20 men in masks and armed with machine guns carried out a search of his home, where he lives with his wife and two children, a 6-year-old and 11-month-old baby.  His wife had hypertonic shock as a result, was hospitalized for a week and has been sent for further examination.

As reported here, the Crimean Human Rights Field Mission has condemned the so-called ‘February 26 Case’ as legally unfounded and politically motivated, aimed solely at persecuting those who oppose the Crimea occupation regime.

As reported here, the first arrest on Jan 29 was of Deputy Head of the Mejlis or Crimean Tatar representative assembly, Akhtem Chiygoz.  As well as the lack of any legal grounds or jurisdiction for the prosecution over events before annexation, there is also ample video footage showing that Chiygoz actively sought to calm protesters, as did other members of the Mejlis present.  It seems quite clear that the occupation regime was targeting the leadership of the Mejlis.  Since the Head of the Mejlis Refat Chubarov has already been banned from Crimea, they went for his deputy.   Smedlyaev reports that the investigators tried to get Emirvaliyev to give false testimony against Chiygoz. but he refused.

Eskender Kantemirov was remanded in custody shortly afterwards, and then on March 11 armed men in masks burst into the home of 31-year-old Talyat Yunosov and took him away.  He has also been remanded in custody. 

Russia and the ‘government’ it installed, with the use of armed Russian soldiers, on Feb 27, 2014, are trying to change historical fact and claim that the current ‘prime minister’ Sergei Aksyonov assumed control on Feb 26.  He certainly did not do so in any legal faction.  The large protest outside parliament that day was organized by Crimean Tatars to prevent an attempt to seize control of parliament.  There were effectively two demonstrations in the same place: one organized by Crimean Tatars and EuroMaidan activists, the other by the Russian Unity party run by Sergei Aksyonov.  Both he and his party were then extremely marginal in Crimean politics, yet Aksyonov then proclaimed himself ‘prime minister’ following a parliamentary ‘session’ under Russian soldiers’ machine guns on Feb 27.

Two people died that day: one elderly man of a heart attack, and another elderly woman died later in hospital, possibly after being crushed by the crowd.

It is typical of the nature of this ‘criminal case’, that only Crimean Tatars are suspected of trouble.  The Russian Investigative Committee in Crimea claims to have over 150 ‘witnesses’ and reports that 40 people have been given victim status. 

Halya Coynash

 Share this