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.

Russia abducts, tortures and imprisons Crimean Tatar from Kherson oblast, then tries to make him ‘Russian’

Halya Coynash
Ruslan Abdurakhmanov is one of an ever-increasing number of Ukrainian political prisoners whom the Russians abducted from occupied territory after its full-scale invasion of Ukraine

Ruslan Abdurakhmanov

Ruslan Abdurakhmanov

Ukrainian political prisoner Ruslan Abdurakhmanov is in the Chelyabinsk region of Russia on his way to the harsh-regime prison colony for the remainder of an insane sentence imposed by a kangaroo ‘court’ in occupied Crimea after he was abducted by Russian soldiers from his home in Kherson oblast.  The 32-year-old Crimean Tatar is one of an increasing number of Ukrainian citizens who were illegally abducted by representatives of an invading power and then ‘charged’ under Russian legislation with involvement, while in mainland Ukraine, in an entirely legal and peaceful organization.

Abdurakhmanov (b. 1991) has been in Russian custody since April 2022, and spent six months in particularly harsh conditions in occupied Crimea before recently being sent on the gruelling transfer to a harsh-regime prison colony, probably in Siberia.  According to his wife, Feride, his health has seriously deteriorated.  She explains that her husband urgently needs an operation to remove hernias in the neck region of the spine, which are obstructing the flow of oxygen to the brain.  He is receiving some minimal, and inadequate, amount of medication. 

His Russian captors have also tried, on numerous occasions, to force him to take Russian citizenship, which Abdurakhmanov is refusing to do.  Such forced ‘russification’ has been attempted with respect to Ukrainian political prisoners since 2014.  Such ‘backdated citizenship’, even had Abdurakhmanov agreed, would not change the fundamental lawlessness of the aggressor state’s abduction, torture and fake trial of a Ukrainian citizen.

As reported, Ruslan Abdurakhmanov is from the village of Azovske in Kherson oblast.  On 18 April 2022, around seven armed and masked men, with chevrons from the Russian proxy ‘Donetsk people’s republic’ and carrying Russian flags, burst into his home. In front of his wife and two children, they hit him and, when he fell to the ground, began savagely kicking him.  They then used tape to put a bag over his head and took him to technical college No. 17 in occupied Henichesk, which the Russians had already turned into a torture chamber / prison.  He had been taken there into a basement with both his hands and feet tied together, with three men, speaking with Chechen accents, then torturing him.  They had first laid him out on the ground, threatening to cut off his genitals, and then beat him and tortured him with electric currents.  They also threatened to do the same to his family, as well, effectively, as to kill and bury him.

Later that same day he was taken to the checkpoint at Chonhar where he was again ‘interrogated’, although this time by men who identified themselves as from the FSB.  In the letter he managed to get to the Crimean Human Rights Group in December 2022, he explained that he had said nothing, but was finally forced, through beatings and threats, to sign documents that he was not even allowed to read. 

He was then taken to the SIZO [remand prison] in occupied Simferopol, where the so-called ‘investigator’ into the fabricated charges against him was A.Y. Chumakin.

He was sentenced on 2 September 2022 by ‘judge’ Mikhail Bielousov from the occupation ‘Kievsky district court’ in Simferopol to five years’ harsh-regime imprisonment.  The charges were over unproven involvement in the Noman Çelebicihan Battalion, an unarmed civic organization which is legal in Ukraine.  The Battalion was founded by Crimean Tatar activist and businessman Lenur Islyamov on 1 January 2016, with the first members people who had taken part in the civic blockade of occupied Crimea.  This blockade was initiated by Crimean Tatar leaders Mustafa Dzhemilev and Refat Chubarov, together with Islyamov, on 20 September 2015, and demanded an end to trade, and supplies of electricity to Crimea while it remained under Russian occupation.  While the Battalion and its members undoubtedly saw their ultimate objective as the end to Russia’s illegal occupation of Crimea, this was not an armed formation. Battalion members merely promoted the goods and energy blockade and provided backup for Ukrainian border guards in areas near the administrative border with occupied Crimea. The Battalion has not really existed for such time, but this is not stopping Russia from using charges of involvement in it to fabricate politically motivated ‘trials’, like that of Ruslan Abdurakhmanov.

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