• Topics / Human Rights Abuses in Russian-occupied Crimea
Crimean Tatar detained, tortured and charged with ‘inciting enmity to Russians’
A Russian-controlled ‘court’ in Crimea has remanded Ismail Ramazanov in custody for a month after refusing to react to the young man’s acute pain from the beating he endured in police custody. Ramazanov is accused of ‘extremism’ over comments he allegedly made to an Internet radio station.
Armed officers turned up at Ramazanov’s home in Novy Mir in the early morning of January 23.
Ramazanov was taken away and for most of the day and evening there was no information as to his whereabouts. It was only at 1 a.m. that his lawyer was finally informed by the ‘investigator’ that the young man was being held in a police holding unit in Simferopol.
Ramazanov is facing a charge of ‘inciting enmity’ under Article 282 § 1 of Russia’s criminal code. The de facto prosecutor accuses him of having publicly, via the Zello Internet radio station in October 2017, expressed a view which the FSB ‘expert assessment’ claims “incited hatred towards Russians’.
In a further twist which has become typical of FSB ‘extremism’ cases, it is also alleged that the officers found a packet with bullets from a Makarov pistol. His father is adamant that this was planted. The same tactic has been used in other cases against Ukrainians (Oleksandr Kostenko, Andriy Kolemiyets, for example) while the entire politically motivated ‘case’ against Volodymyr Balukh is based on evidently planted bullets and explosives.
During the court hearing on January 24, Ramazanov was in very obvious pain and stated that he had been beaten by the FSB officers both during the search, and later in their vehicle. He complained of pain in the side, the shoulder, the back of his head and said that his finger had been twisted. He asserted also that one of the four masked men who brought him into the court had been among those beating him.
His lawyer Alexei Ladin asked the court to call an ambulance and also to organize a medical examination. The ‘prosecutor’ objected and produced a document claiming that Ramazanov’s health was satisfactory.
Ladin also pointed out that the prosecution had not provided any proof that Ramazanov was the owner of the account in question and that the recording had been from his phone or tablet.
‘Judge’ Iryna Kirillova from the Simferopol District Court ignored the fact that Ramazanov was having difficulty even staying on his feet, as well as all arguments from the defence, and complied with the ‘prosecutor’s’ request for him to be remanded in custody for a month, until 23 February.
Ramazanov was one of two targets for the latest armed searches of Crimean Tatar homes in the early morning of January 23. The other was 27-year-old driver Muksin Dzhambaz from Stary Krym, who does not appear to have been detained, although the armed men turned up at his elderly parents’ home, breaking the windows as they burst in, and then searched Dzhambaz’ own flat.
Such armed searches have become frequent under Russian occupation, as have claims of ‘extremism’ or ‘terrorism’ against Crimean Tatars and other Ukrainian Muslims, as well as against any Ukrainians who do not conceal their pro-Ukrainian views.
This is by no means the first time that young men taken away have faced obvious torture and ill-treatment, with their families left not even knowing where the men had been taken to (see: Abducted Crimean Tatar beaten, tortured and abandoned after ‘voluntarily’ entering FSB office).
The charges of ‘incitement to enmity’ over an alleged critical comment about Russians is ironical considering that proceedings against Russia are currently underway at the UN International Court of Justice in the Hague over alleged violation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. The Court not only accepted Ukraine’s case against Russia for consideration but also imposed provisional measures over Russia’s ban on the Crimean Tatar Mejlis and its effective elimination of education in the Ukrainian language. Russia had promised to abide by the Court’s ruling, but has ignored its orders and, if anything, heightened its pressure on Crimean Tatars and other Ukrainians since April 2017.