MENU
Documenting 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.

Similar articles

Russia uses ‘terrorism’ charges to silence civic journalists in occupied Crimea23 arrested Crimean Tatar rights activists secretly moved to RussiaRussia uses terror to crush Crimean Solidarity & drive Crimean Tatars from their homelandNew arrests add 55 children to the victims of Russia’s war against Crimean TatarsMass armed searches and arrests of Crimean Tatar activists in Russian-occupied Crimea13-year sentence against Belarusian investigative journalist who helped expose crimes against Ukraine Crimean Tatar political prisoner sentenced to 11 years for "kitchen conversation" about religion and politics Fascism is here in Russia. Anti-war activities in Russia, 15-22 AugustRussian invaders abduct Kherson oblast local leader, install “worst of the worst” collaboratorsRussia wants 64-year-old Crimean Tatar to die in prison for refusing to collaborate in occupied Crimea Russian invaders plan ‘trial’ of abducted Ukrainian volunteer on charge of ‘international terrorism’ New armed searches and arrests in Russian-occupied Crimea for reading the Bible Abducted Kherson woman likely imprisoned and tortured by Russian FSBSavage sentences in Russia’s religious persecution and plunder in occupied Crimea Russia "takes revenge’ for humiliating attack on Crimea military base by new mass arrests of Crimean Tatars “He lay on the sidewalk, naming towns and cities in Ukraine”. A digest of anti-war activities in Russia, 23-29 JulyAmnesty International’s 4 August statement. A response by the “Tribunal for Putin” initiativeDirector of Amnesty International in Ukraine resigns in protest calling controversial Amnesty press release "a tool of Russian propaganda’ Russia strips three Crimean Tatar lawyers of their licence to prevent them defending political prisonersRetired Ukrainian naval commander abducted, tortured and taken to Russian-occupied Crimea ‘for trial’

Armed raids for statistics and terror in Russian-occupied Crimea

01.05.2019
Halya Coynash

Brazen intrusions into Crimean Tatar homes by men with machine guns have become common in Russian-occupied Crimea, but there were some differences on 30 April.  The searches were even more desultory than normal, which was not  surprising since they were targeting Crimean Tatar activists and claimed to be looking for drugs which they knew in advance they would not find.  None, that is, which they had not brought themselves to plant which was doubtless one of the menacing messages that the raids were intended to leave.

The date may well have been critical in two ways.  The Russian-controlled enforcement officers could have needed to improve their statistics for the month.  A little bit of intimidation, no more, was needed, however, given that it was on the eve of two public holidays.

At around 6 a.m. large contingents of Russian enforcement officers turned up at the homes of Dilyaver Bekirov and Roman Osmanov.

Osmanov was likely ‘noticed’ by the occupation regime for his single-person picket in April 2018 in defence of the 16th century Khan’s Palace in Bakhchysarai, a place of enormous cultural and historical significance for Crimean Tatars which Russia is effectively destroying under the guise of ‘restoration work’.  This was, effectively, the message on Osmanov’s placard which read: “Stop destroying Crimean Tatar history under the pretence of restoration!”.   Osmanov has also actively shown support for political prisoners, attending ‘court’ hearings, etc.  He lives with his wife and two small children (the younger is only 6 months old) and his elderly mother.  She was taken ill during the raid and an ambulance needed to be called.

Osmanov notes that the order that they came with said that they were looking for drugs – at the home of a man who doesn’t drink or even smoke.  The ‘search’ was, he says, quite superficial, with the men not even bothering to open all drawers.  He is quite clear that this was an act of intimidation because of his civic activism.

Everything about the armed search can be viewed as a warning, including the fact that the officers illegally refused to allow Osmanov to call a lawyer and to choose the official witnesses.  In all these cases, the officers bring so-called ‘witnesses’ with them, making it particularly difficult to fight attempts to plant the items the men are supposedly looking for.

Armed searches were also carried out at the home first of Dilyaver Bekirov, a civic activist, and then of his son, Ruslan, who lives separately.  According to his father, Ruslan Bekirov is not involved in either political or civic activism.

He was then taken away, seemingly for blood tests, but released.  His lawyer, Emine Avamileva told Crimean Solidarity that the officers had refused to say what criminal proceedings were involved and what Ruslan Bekirov was suspected of.  Here, as with Osmanov, they also refused to allow the lawyer to see the protocol drawn up of the search.  Once again, this is grossly illegal and gives scope for falsification. Ruslan Bekirov has been told not to leave Simferopol, with this supposedly because the results of the tests are due on 5 May.

It is hard to take such suspicions seriously when the standard armed ‘operations’ were carried out of three homes on 30 April, with the targets in two cases being civic activists.  And when nothing at all was found.  Even the Russian occupation regime must understand that they cannot later produce a protocol, claiming that drugs were found, if they said nothing at the time, and refused to allow the men, or legal representatives to see these documents.

Russia’s armed searches of Crimean Tatar homes began within months of its invasion and annexation of Crimea, with civic activists particularly targeted.  Since October 2017, it has been using charges of ‘involvement’ in the peaceful pan-Islamist Hizb ut-Tahrir party, which is legal in Ukraine, to imprison activists from the civic initiative Crimean Solidarity for 10-20 years (or more). 

See: Russia uses ‘terrorism’ charges to silence civic journalists in occupied Crimea

 

 Share this