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Russia jails four respected Crimean Tatars and spreads lies about ‘machine guns & drugs’ to discredit the Mejlis
Any doubt that the FSB arrests in Russian-occupied Crimea on November 23 which caused the death of Vedzhie Kashka, 83-year-old veteran of the Crimean Tatar national movement, were a special operation aimed at discrediting Crimean Tatars and the Mejlis have been dispelled. Russian and Kremlin-loyal Crimean media have come out with lies about supposed “ammunition, drugs and material of an extremist nature” found during the searches “of Mejlis” members. It is even claimed that machine guns were found, citing “a source in the enforcement agencies”. The level is primitive, the inaccuracy astounding, yet almost openly so, suggesting that the main objective is to pour out as many headlines as possible to try to link the Mejlis with violence and crime.
The Russian state-controlled RIA Novosti had already on Thursday edited its video in order to avoid showing the attempted arrest of an 83-year-old woman held in immense respect by all Crimean Tatars and other Ukrainians. Now, despite widespread coverage by its own journalists, it has reported as fact the claim of an anonymous source that “
The same kind of headlines and unproven allegations presented as fact are found in numerous other reports. One stands out, however, for the cynicism of its falsification. REN-TV’s headline is “
Veteran Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemilev has provided
When Aigan began collaborating with the FSB is unclear, but this was evidently a set-up, during which the man even ‘handed over’ the missing money. Just in time for the FSB to leap in, forcing the men, none of whom is young, to the ground, and then trying to detain an 83-year-old woman in very ill health.
Having caused her death, the FSB continued this ‘special operation’, with several other Crimean Tatars also seized. Not one of the men arrested is a member of the Mejlis, or representative assembly of the Crimean Tatar People, which Russia banned in April 2016,, but such details are irrelevant to the FSB. They can rely on the Russian media, after all, to spread toxic lies.
Russia’s extraordinary ban of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis, the self-governing body of the main indigenous people of Crimea was condemned by the international community, and has been referred to as an attack on the entire Crimean Tatar people. If the calls from the UN, EU, PACE and OSCE to lift the ban are not binding, the same is not true of the International Court of Justice in the Hague which Russia has committed itself to comply with. The Court back on April 19 ordered Russia to reinstate the Mejlis and to stop other forms of discrimination against Crimean Tatars and ethnic Ukrainians.
While avoiding arrests directly linked with involvement in the Mejlis, Russia has not complied with the ICJ ruling, and has now set to trying to undermine the Mejlis and slandering the Crimean Tatar people, using a cynically concocted criminal prosecution and media willing to spread any toxic lies.