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.

FSB violently detain renowned activist and Crimean Tatar National Assembly delegate

Halya Coynash
Russia’s persecution of 64-year-old Edem Dudakov is not only because of his position in the Crimean Tatar Qurultay, but because he has exposed Russia’s barbaric destruction of the vital 16th century Khan’s Palace
Edem Dudakov in 2022, devastation after Russian FSB’s armed ’search’ on 13 March Photo Crimean Solidarity
Edem Dudakov in 2022, devastation after Russian FSB’s armed ’search’ on 13 March Photo Crimean Solidarity

Russia’s FSB burst into the Bakhchysarai home of Edem Dudakov, Delegate to the Qurultay [National Assembly] of the Crimean Tatar people early on 13 March.  After gratuitous force that destroyed a glass door, they carried out a search lasting around two hours before taking Dudakov away without any explanation.  The 64-year-old suffers from diabetes and high blood pressure, and his wife packed his medicine, as well as a thermos, without any idea when (or if) he would be returned. 

Edem Dudakov was, thankfully, released later on Wednesday, with it remaining unclear whether this was the latest of many demonstrations of the Russian security service’s methods of intimidation in occupied Crimea or something even more sinister.

It is just over a year since the prominent Crimean Tatar activist was targeted by Russia’s so-called ‘centre for countering extremism’.  On 17 February 2023, these ‘officers’ also carried out a search, without providing any valid grounds.  They removed mobile telephones and other gadgets and detained Dudakov, taking him to the occupation ‘police’ station in Bakhchysarai.  Crimean Solidarity reports that lawyers were, for a long time, prevented from being present during the search and at the ‘police’ station.  It is totally illegal, but standard, for Russian occupation ‘police’ and FSB to block access to lawyers during their ‘searches’, however they normally stop short of preventing their presence later, during questioning.  Dudakov’s lawyers later addressed formal complaints over this to the Russian occupation prosecutor’s office.

Russia shows no concern for age or state of health when it comes to political persecution and Dudakov has been a target not only as a delegate to the Crimean Tatar Qurultay.  On 17 February 2022, just days before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Dudakov and his wife were subjected to an early morning ‘search’ by the ‘anti-extremism centre’.  On that occasion, Dudakov was taken away, with the pretext used being a purportedly ‘extremist utterance’ by Dudakov in a comment on his Facebook page five years earlier, in 2017.   He was jailed the following day by a Russian occupation ‘court’ for ten days.  No real attempt was made to come up with a convincing charge, with the occupation regime more than likely wanting the real reason for Dudakov’s persecution to be known.   

The detention came just nine days after Dudakov reported Russia’s act of irreparable vandalism against the Khan’s Palace, or Hansaray, in Bakhchysarai, a monument of huge historical and cultural significance for all Crimean Tatars and for Ukraine.  The complex, which includes the Palace itself, a hall for receiving visitors, two mosques, a harem and other buildings, was built as the main residence of the monarchs of the Crimean Khanate, and was the political, religious and cultural centre of the Crimean Tatar community until the collapse of the Khanate in 1783 (with Russia’s first occupation of Crimea).  The Khan’s Palace had been placed on UNESCO’s World Heritage Tentative List back in 2003, but the necessary work for establishing its international status was unfortunately not completed.  No UNESCO fact-finding missions are possible while Crimea remains under Russian occupation, but it is, unfortunately, near certain that the damage Russia has caused will eliminate any likelihood of such UNESCO recognition.  Dudakov, who is the former Head of the Crimean Committee on Inter-Ethnic Relations and Deported Peoples, had been one of those sounding the alarm about Russia’s barbaric destruction of the monument since 2016 and had reported the new devastation on 8 February. 

Details here:  Russia causes irreparable damage to 16th Century Crimean Tatar Khan’s Palace in occupied Crimea

See also:  Russia persecutes Crimean Tatars, destroys their heritage because they expose the lies about its annexation of Crimea

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