#Unbreakable
16 May 2021 14:44

As part of the campaign “Being yourself is not a Crime!” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine launches a project #Unbreakable, aimed at support of Kremlin’s prisoners: Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars illegally imprisoned by Russia in the temporarily occupied Crimea and in the Russian Federation. The project includes publications of public letters written by the political prisoners from prisons.

“The support and release of all the Ukrainian political prisoners is among MFA top priorities. We are launching the project #Unbreakable, dedicated to our citizens who have been illegally imprisoned and held in Russian prisons. The main goal of the initiative is to tell the stories of the Kremlin’s prisoners: their experiences and thoughts, dreams and hopes and to draw attention to the systemic reprisals in the occupied Crimea. The project also aims to make the world aware of the invincible spirits of the Kremlin’s prisoners. This is almost the only cure to protect them from torture and inhuman treatment in prisons. “Publicity saves lives” - First Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Emine Dzhaparova said.

The campaign launching date is symbolic. Today, Ukraine commemorates the victims of political repressions - our compatriots, ruthlessly tortured and killed by the Soviet totalitarian regime. The Russian Federation revitalized the methods of Soviet regime and launched mass-scale repressive campaigns in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine. Today, Russia continues to illegally detain more than 100 Ukrainian citizens for political reasons behind bars in the occupied Crimea and on the territory of the Russian Federation.

Every week we will publish on the MFA website and on our Facebook page, as well as on the resources of diplomatic missions, political prisoner’s letters to share their stories and tell about repressions in the temporarily occupied peninsula.

The first hero of the #Unbreakable project is a citizen journalist Osman Arifmemetov. Prior to his arrest, he broadcasted searches and abductions of Crimean Tatars in the occupied Crimea. Now, he faces up to 20 years of imprisonment on bogus terrorism charges.

"Congratulations to everyone! My name is Osman. I am a Crimean Tatar and a citizen of Ukraine. I have lived in Crimea since 1990. I returned to my homeland at the age of five from Uzbekistan, where my ancestors, together with the entire Crimean Tatar people, were deported in 1944.

I am a professional teacher of mathematics and computer science. Until 2014, I had worked as a programmer. However, due to the occupation, the company left Crimea. Afterwards, I earned my living by teaching programming classes for children privately. While my dear wife took care of our two young children.

Since 2014, the situation in Crimea has changed. The majority of the Crimean Tatar people did not support Russia's invasion in the peninsula. They did not participate in the fake referendum on March 16, 2014, boycotted the vote in the 2018 presidential elections and the referendum 2020 for amendments to the Constitution. Thus, the entire people came under the occupant’s flywheel of political reprisals because of their dissent political position and their own vision of the way of their homeland’s future. On the international arena, Russia gained an image of the aggressor, while Crimean Tatar people proved to be a civilized partner.

Since 2016, citizen journalism became my main activity. Professional journalism in Crimea has disappeared. Some media outlets and journalists were forced to leave for mainland Ukraine. Professional journalists who remained on the peninsula simply left the profession because they could not work under the severe pressure and censorship. All that remains are the federal pro-government media, which function as propagandists and do not give an unbiased picture.

Crimea has actually turned into an information ghetto, where the work of professional media is complicated and dangerous. However, the request for unbiased information still exists, and someone has to talk about repressions and persecution. In such conditions, the citizen journalism emerged. People without any previous professional media experience, took their phones, tablets and started filming and sharing on the Internet the real situation on the peninsula. Very quickly, they became almost the only source of truthful information from the occupied Crimea.

In 2017, I managed to record on my smartphone the moment when the Russian Federal Security Service officers abducted activist Bilyal Adilov. In just a few days, tens of thousands of people watched the abduction video on the Internet. During the filming of the following raids in the house of my compatriots, I was detained and arrested for five days. My tablet was extracted and sent for examination. Together with the journalist Timur Ibragimov and human rights activist Riza Izetov, I was put in the cellar of the Center for Countering Extremism.

In March 2019, the most massive arrests of activists, human rights activists, and journalists of the Crimean Solidarity public association took place. 25 people were detained, including me. At that time, my son was one and a half years old, and my daughter was three and a half.

During detention, I was taken to the forest and beaten until I lost the consciousness.

Most of us are facing up 20 years of imprisonment, while four detainees -  even the life sentence. We consider our detention as politically motivated. We oppose the accusations against us. We do not plead guilty, especially in terrorism activity, and we consider it as unacceptable manner. 

Throughout the history of the struggle for their rights, the Crimean Tatar people had never resorted to violence. The history of the national movement in exile is a proof. For 30 years, there have been no one terrorist attack or terrorists in Crimea. Islam and terrorism have nothing in common. Islam is against terrorism.

I do not foster any illusions. I understand that Russian courts do not serve justice. Our release is a political matter.

It is important for you to know that we will continue our nonviolent fight for our rights. We are not terrorists.

It is important for you to know about those who continue their civic activity in Crimea. They need your support.

I believe that with your help we could stop Russia’s reprisals in Crimea and release all political prisoners.

I fight for the prosperity of my people and for justice.

I dream to return to my family, to hug my relatives and friends.

I dream about free Crimea with the end to reprisals, and then together we can change our common future for the better.


Regards,

Citizen journalist, prisoner of conscience

Osman Arifmetetov"

Vladyslav Yesypenko, freelance journalist of the “Krym.Realii” internet-news agency. Prior to his arrest, he covered social and environmental issues and filmed surveys of the Crimean citizens. On March 10 in this year, he was illegally detained in Simferopol. The Russian occupation administration accuses the journalist of gathering information "in the interests of Ukraine's special services" and of storing an "improvised explosive device" in the car. Why this is a lie – read in a letter from Vladyslav, written for “Krym.Realii”.

 

"I do not always have the opportunity to release letters from the Simferopol pre-trial detention center (MDC) where I am now. Sometimes they can get there too late. Sometimes – not to fall at all. Sometimes I don't have time to finish the text and pass it on as it is.

I write on what it is necessary. Leaflets, pieces of paper. Handy tools and the interior is the same... Cell, grilles, bolts. A real reconstruction of events... I, the grandson of my grandfather Athanasius Fursa, who was repressed and shot by the "troika" in Chernihiv on May 9, 1938, am sitting, 84 years later, in the same scenery. Only in the Crimea. And I am waiting for the verdict of the totalitarian regime. Just as my grandfather, the "enemy of the people", the father of five children, had expected. I'm 52. He was ten years younger...

***

It happened the day after I filmed the action of laying flowers to the Taras Shevchenko monument. On March 10, he was traveling from the South Coast to Simferopol. After the village of Perevalne, I was stopped with a stick by a traffic police officer. Then the FSB (Federal Security Council) officers approached and laid him on the ground. Then they picked me up and started searching the car. I was indignant. I was telling that the FSB was working "awkwardly" and that they would have a black bar ... But when I saw a grenade being planted on the cabin, I realized that the black bar seemed to have started for me. And it can obviously drag on.

I was forced to sign search reports. I refused, to which an FSB officer in Balaklava (apparently a senior) said that now we would go to another place, where I would sign everything he said: "And not such split".

I was put in a bus, wearing black glasses and headphones (I couldn’t see anything, I couldn’t hear anything). In complete invisibility we drove for about an hour. At some point I managed to raise my glasses, and I saw a road sign: "Sevastopol - 46 km". They stopped in ten minutes. I realized that we had arrived in Bakhchisarai. They led me into the basement of the building and silently began to undress.

I resisted. But since there were four of them and I was in handcuffs, it didn't help me. They knocked me to the floor, put wires with loops on my ears and turned on the electricity. The pain was unbearable. Nobody paid attention to my cries. The boys worked in harmony and without emotions.

In the pauses between tortures, questions were asked: "The purpose of coming to the Crimea?", "We know that you are a journalist, but tell us about the tasks of the secret services of Ukraine", "When were you recruited?", "What and where did you shoot in the Crimea?", "What do you know about the colonel Kravchuk?". It was also said that I had the experience of avoiding tracking, as I often accelerated and braked while driving. That is, the "ability to avoid surveillance" hinted at my espionage nature.

- I was driving on navigation! - I answer. - And, of course, I accelerated and slowed down when I saw the radar on the navigation. If the answer to any of the questions did not suit them, they put on the wires again and turned on the electricity. At some point, I realized that the pain could be tolerated, and as my cries became weaker, the FSB officers, apparently professionals, assessed the situation, increased the current, and the pain became unbearable again.

***

My tongue cracked and began to bleed. Maybe because of the current discharges, or maybe because I bit him hard during the screams. When I started spitting blood, the FSB officers "carefully" brought water and even took me to the toilet.

One of the "good" FSB officers, when asked how much I earn on my stories, said that "in Russia you would be paid ten times more". Then the "good" said that I was "not quite sincere" with them, so I need to stand up "lying down" and push back, and if I get tired and stop, I will be kicked. I got tired pretty quickly. I was hit in the body and groin.

The "good" officer during the executions demanded that I should shout "Glory to Ukraine!". In response, I shouted "Really, Glory to the heroes!" (Used their prison slang to make it clearer to them). Then there was another interrogation. The same "good" officer offered me to choose the method of torture: current or squeezing. I chose to push back, but I was electrocuted again. Only now taped to a chair.

During one of the strong discharges of pain, I jumped up, tore the tape I was holding, and tore the black mask from my face and saw that I was in a basement without windows. There were also five FSB officers in balaclavas. And I was tortured with a device similar to an army field telephone. I was knocked off my feet and taped to my chair again, continuing the interrogation. After a while, a woman (apparently also the FSB officer) went down to the basement and, putting the sensors on my fingers, began to check with a lie detector. I was asked the same questions again. After the polygraph in the basement, I signed some papers, told the camera that I was a "spy" and that I was performing the SSU tasks.

Hell. Deadlock. And a sense of the absurdity of what is happening. I must say that at critical moments I joked in black. How can you joke in hell. Standing in the basement lying flat, I told the FSB officers that with such loads you can not go to the gym. After that, they kicked me even harder, saying that I was being bullied...

The next day (as I was glad that the next day had come) I was shown a place near Armyansk where a grenade allegedly lay, which I allegedly took for "self-defense against the Crimean Tatars". And when the investigator arrived, he showed the place of refuge on a video camera.

I still can't understand why the FSB officers chose a grenade instead of a pistol for "self-defense against the Tatars". That is, if "aggressive Crimean Tatars" came across my path, I would have to blow them up with me against the instinct of self-preservation? On the other hand, I should have been "grateful" to the FSB for planting a grenade on me, not drugs, for example, because in the pre-trial detention center and prison did not treat convicts under Article 228 (drug trafficking) very well.

In the evening of March 11, I was taken to the FSB office, where I first saw investigator Vlasov and appointed lawyer Violetta Sineglazova. A round lady with a good face told me that if I confessed everything, I would be able to go home not in six, but in three years. Investigator Vlasov promised assistance in food, clothing and, as the main argument, the opportunity to call my wife on mainland Ukraine (although, as he said, they "do not have it"). I understood that if there were no private and honest lawyers and connections with the mainland, then I had little chance.

Later, when independent lawyers Emil Kurbedinov and Oleksiy Ladin entered the case and I reported in court about the torture and withdrew my testimony, which was beaten out of torture, I was taken to a basement in Simferopol. There they thought about what they would do with me. I thought: "The end of you, Vlad! Now you will be hanged on the bars. In Kryvyi Rih, a street will be named after you, and children near your grave would be accepted as pioneers".

But it passed.

Here, in the pre-trial detention center, as in the "kingdom of curved mirrors". Nothing shows the ugly nature of the occupying power as the constant filling of the cells with new people who were detained on fabricated evidence. Almost every day in the pre-trial detention center, new people are arrested on suspicion of espionage, planning terrorist attacks, and spreading and propagating religious movements banned in Russia. I saw three boys, one of whom was 18 years old at the time of his arrest. They are made the case as terrorists (the name of one of them – Valentin Khoroshavin). They allegedly hung leaflets with Ukrainian symbols and wanted to blow up the market in Simferopol. What to say, if I talked to a guy, he is completely blind, walks with a stick? He is considered the head of a terrorist center in Crimea! What about me? After the statement about torture in the FSB I am not physically touched. I try to play sports while walking in the prison yard. We are allowed to go out into the fresh air once a day. I read the press transmitted from mainland Ukraine.

I am grateful to the huge number of people and the media who are fighting for me at large. And they help in the Crimea. Thanks also to the Russian FSB, which provided an unprecedented opportunity for a freelance journalist for Radio Liberty not only to become an observer in a pre-trial detention center in the occupied Crimea, but also to try their hand at their "investigation" methods, which can either drive them crazy or put an end to them.

It didn't break me, but my hair seemed to turn gray".

The systematic attack on human rights in Russian-occupied Crimea, suppression of freedom of speech and pressure on independent media have given rise to civic journalism on the peninsula. Remzi Bekirov was one of the sources of objective and operative information about the repressions in the temporarily occupied Crimea. He was repeatedly persecuted for his active civic position. In March 2019, he and other activists were illegally arrested on trumped-up charges of terrorism and attempt to seize power by force.

 

"I am Remzi Bekirov, a citizen journalist of the Crimean Solidarity initiative, a journalist of the Internet publication Grani.ru. I have a wonderful wife and three wonderful children, whom I love and miss. I have spent my whole childhood and youth in Crimea.  Here I went to school, graduated from Taurida National University with a qualification as a teacher of history, worked as a tour guide. In Crimea I built a house, started a family and lived peacefully contributing to the development of my folk.

I like traveling. Having seen almost all sights of the peninsular, I scaled peaks of mountings, descended into dark caves, explored secrets of ancient fortresses of our multinational land. Over all these years I became imbued with beauty of my Motherland, fell in love with culture and tradition of my Crimean Tatar nation and began to comply with fundamental principles of my culture – Islam teachings.

So, being fairly communicative and active, me and my friends, who are worried about our people, the development of Crimea, and position of Muslims, tried to participate in the public life of our folk. It could be reconstruction work of a mosque, assistance to those who are in need, clarification of the religious provisions, or organization Islamic holidays for children, and this is hardly a complete list of what we were doing before our arrest.

When Russia invaded Crimea, my active social life haven`t disappeared, conversely, it intensified. Having realised the danger that threatens my people, to all who thinks differently from the official Kremlin, I took my phone and started together with likeminders began to highlight the repressions that have befallen the peninsula.  Journalism is not my profession, but rather a way to protect my people. I began to work in this sphere in order to protect people, at least somehow, and through this activity, I was looking for ways of development and growth. I believe that a word is also a tool in the fight for liberation, so I decided to use it too. I was with my phone on searches, in courts, and meetings with relatives of prisoners – wherever it was necessary to show the world the injustice that is happening on our peninsula.

The Vedzhie Kashka case, the Akhtem Chiygoz case, the Ismail Ramazanov case, the case of Radio Liberty journalist Mykola Semena, the so-called “February 26 case”, the case of the  chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people Ilmi Umerov, numerous cases of “Hizb ut-Tahrir”, arrests in the case “Tablighi Jamaat”, the arrest of Klimenko, the head of the Ukrainian Church in Crimea, numerous administrative cases – this is not a complete list of high-profile cases that I managed to cover.

For my active position, I received administrative arrests twice. The first one when I was covering the search at Marlen Mustafayev's home, and the second for a post on the social network "Vkontakte" seven years ago. Repeatedly I have received threats of criminal responsibility. They came to life on March 27, 2019.

On that day, a search was conducted in my house, as well as in the house of 25 other activists of the "Crimean Solidarity". They burst in at night. The perpetrators scared my family and children. Having not found me at home, armed FSB officers broke into the houses of my neighbours. Me and my friends Osman and Veli were detained at 11 o’clock in the evening at the McDonald's cafe in the city of Aksai, Rostov region, where we had dinner after a long journey. We were beaten, insulted and humiliated for a long time, and then taken to Crimea for trial. After two years of investigation, we were deported to Russian prisons in Rostov. Once our people were expelled from their native land, today modern Russia is evicting us to its prisons for long periods on a step-by-step basis. As once my ancestors longed for their native land, so today we yearn for the Crimea, for our relatives and friends.

Today we have courts on the merits. All criminal cases are built on conversations about courage, Kurds, the value of time and a political vacuum. FSB officers recorded these conversations in one of the houses of Simferopol. All actions of the witness are hidden. Books seized during searches are all-Islamic literature, which spells out legal provisions of our religion. It runs to the absurd. It came to the point of absurdity that my friend's notebook, in which he describes how to deal with anger, was attached to a criminal case!

They accuse us not of just some sort of administrative crime anything, but of terrorism and an attempt to seize power. Of course, the FSB did not find any weapons and ammunition. Using anti-terrorism legislation as a tool, the Russian authorities are cracking down on undesirables. We have felt for ourselves how the Russian authorities are persecuting on the basis of national and religious background. Apart from Hizb ut-Tahrir, other religious organizations are also persecuted in Crimea – Tablighi Jamaat, Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The Mejlis of the Crimean Tatars was recognized as an extremist organization.

In our G-25 trial, the judges do not represent us an interpreter, depriving us of the right to speak native language, do not give us time to fulfill their religious prescriptions (prayer and fasting), to say nothing of the fact that the whole case is saturated with Islamophobia.

Addressing the public, I would like you to hear the prisoners` voices of faith who are languishing in Russian prisons.  You must be aware of the lawlessness and repressions that are taking place on the peninsula every day in order to take effective measures to end the lawlessness and protect activists from prosecution.

I believe that the Russian authorities will not break us and our people. I believe that the criminals will be punished, and justice will be restored.

I dream of an early meeting with my kith and kin and return to my native land – Crimea. I dream that fair laws and prosperity will return to Crimea".

Before his arrest, Emil Ziyadinov, a sports coach and electrician, took an active part in the public life of the Crimean Tatar people. Together with his compatriots, he supported political prisoners and their families, was on searches and trials, and held individual pickets and flash mobs. In July 2020, Emil and six other activists were arrested by the Russian occupiers on trumped-up charges of terrorism. They have been illegally detained for almost a year. Emil's wife and four sons are waiting for him at home.

Read the full text of his letter below.

 

“In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,

Prayers and peace be upon our Prophet, Muhammad,

his family and all of his companions.

I would like to tell a little about my life before people in masks burst into my house at 4 o’clock in the morning.

After the deportation of Crimean Tatars people to Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and other former USSR republics, my people have always tried to return to their Motherland. So, my family - father, mother, me and two brothers - moved to Crimea in 1993. I was eight years old, and I would say that all my conscious life had been spent in Crimea.

From Uzbekistan, we immediately moved straightaway to the village Oktyabrske in Crimea and to this day, my parents and family live there.

My life was ordinary and no different from the life of the other children. Nevertheless, somewhere in the middle of the 10th grade (1999-2000), I began to take an interest in religion and started to perform Salah, after which my life began to change.

Later, my brothers also began to perform Salah and after that, parents did the same. Many relatives, friends, loved ones, classmates and classmates began to practice Islam. Alhamdulillah, my people are slowly returning to their origins and culture.

I studied and graduated from V.I. Vernadsky Taurida National University in Simferopol with a degree in "physical education".

Until 2014, we held holidays for children and adults on Ramadan and Eid al-Adha, rallies in support of Muslims and the protection of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and did everything for Crimean Tatars to return to Islam. At the same time, other nationalities had an opportunity to learn more about our religion that has nothing to do with extremism, terrorism and fanaticism.

After 2014, we continued our peaceful struggle, but it had already had a different character, since after the annexation there was a strong pressure and an attempt to break the will of the Crimean Tatars. Firstly, it was abductions and tortures. After 2015, they began to arrest us, attributing extremism and terrorism. And all because that professing Islam people were social active citizens and not indifferent class of our nation.

Now we went more to searches, places of detention, visited courts, supported and helped the families of political prisoners, made broadcasts, went out with single pickets and conducted flash mobs, for which many of us received fines.

The first shot across the bow that they were going to send me to prison was on the search of Rustem Sheikhaliev, a defendant in the "second Simferopol" group, where 25 people have been on trial. There were about 30 searches that day: each of them was broadcasted by publicity. I came to Rustem’s search. They detained me there, allegedly, for resisting law enforcement agencies. During the arrest, they beat and when they put handcuffs on me, they get me in the car and so spread my legs that I could even sit on a leg-split. Then a masked FSB officer came up to me, probably, he was one of the bosses, and said, jabbing at me: "He should be jailed." They released me at night of the same day and fined.

When we went to Moscow to see the brothers from the “first Simferopol” group, after the return from the court session to the apartment that we rented for a day, we noticed that someone had been watching us. Probably, it was FSB officers. The surveillance was conducted openly and impudently. They had not even hiding from us. As it turned out later from during my hearing in court, at that time they really followed me, they recorded my conversations, including by phone.

When they arrested me in 2020, my four little children left at home without their father (the eldest son was 9 years old, the second was 6, the third was 4 years old and the youngest was 2 years old) and that time my wife was pregnant with our daughter, whom we were waiting for so long. But by the Will of the Most High, the fetus died a few days before to be born. I gave my children Islamic names and raised them from their birth in the spirit of Islam. In Russia, the average Muslim turns out to be a terrorist. Personally, I had not known that I was a “terrorist” until 2020, the day I was detained.

I wish people not to be afraid when they see injustice, and not to keep silence. Conversely, they should come out and support each other. Do not let yourself keeping eyes closed. I want my people to continue the peaceful struggle and never bow their heads to the occupiers, live in accordance with the principles of Islam and come out of the oppressed situation. Allah does not leave his believing slaves and is their Helper.

Yours faithfully,

political prisoner Emil Ziyadinov”

Russian occupation of Crimea dramatically changed the life of Ruslan Suleimanov. A physicist, a programmer in an IT-company became a citizen journalist to broadcast the world the truth about the repression in the peninsula. Ruslan's activities could not stay unnoticed by the occupants. In March 2019, he and other activists were arrested on trumped-up charges of terrorism. Last summer he faced another crushing sorrow – his three years old son Musa died. Despite this fact, the father was not allowed to bury his child or at least visit his grave. More information about Ruslan, as well as about his reasons for social activism, ongoing repressions in the peninsula and the parallel with 1944 you can read in his letter, which you can find below.


"My name is Ruslan Suleimanov and I was born on April 21, 1983 in deportation at the Uzbek SSR in Kokand city. There I went to the first class at school №2. After graduation from the fourth class in 1993, my family and I moved to Sinne village (Tanageldi), which is located in the Bilohirsk district, Crimea. Here I went to fifth class.

During these years, life in the villages was financially difficult. Understanding the huge burden on my parents' shoulders, I set myself a goal to study well. After graduation from the school with honors in 2000 and taking into account my interest in STEM disciplines, I entered V.I. Vernadsky Taurida National University.

At the end of the second year, I got a job in the laboratory of physics of magnetic phenomena, in which I later specialized. While working on my thesis, I was also researching the issue of physical measurements in biologically active environments in the biotechnical centre at the university.

After the third year, I started working and continued to study. I received a position of laboratory assistant at the Taurida Ecological Institute. I married in 2004, and in 2006 my first son, Ali, was born. Unfortunately, this marriage did not last long. In 2005, I graduated from the university with an average score of 4.75, receiving a specialist diploma. At the end of my education at the university, my friends Remzi and Osman, who now, like me, are involved in a criminal case, managed to buy land in Stroganivka village, Simferopol district. So we also became neighbours. We built a house together with my brother Eskender (also involved in a criminal case).

In 2009, I married my current wife, with whom I have three children: a son, Muhammad, born in 2009, a daughter, Asiyat, born in 2014, and a son, Musa, born in 2017. Unfortunately, while I was in the pre-trial detention centre, I lost my last son. I did not have the opportunity even to say goodbye to him since they took me away from my family. Occupants did not give me the opportunity to bury him and visit the grave before the deportation.

After graduating from university, I tried various professions to provide a decent income for my family. In 2010, I got a job at a company that produced applications for mobile devices. There I worked as a level designer (programmer). After 2014, my company, like other IT companies, left the peninsula under the threat of sanctions. Thus, I lost my job. The only choice I had was to become a self-employed person, as the new economic and political situation in the peninsula did not leave many options. I also worked as a physics tutor, preparing students for exams.

Then began the repressions for political reasons. I could not turn a blind eye on such injustice. My education and conscience did not allow me to be indifferent to this problem my nation faced.

Our life turned into turmoil. I was driven by the need to be present on searches and to give them publicity. It was the only way to protect us against lawlessness. During that time, I was involved twice in administrative conviction: the first time for my presence on the search, the second time for a single-person picket. As a result, I became a defendant in the case of the Simferopol 25, and since March 27, 2019 I have been kept in a pre-trial detention centre.

We are people who profess Islam, and our culture is closely linked to it. Terrorism and extremism are foreign concepts for us. My people are creators, so these false labels don’t fit it. This is very well known to those who persecute us, and others know this, because our way of life is open and obvious.

What is happening today is not a new case in the history of my nation. A similar thing happened in 1944, when in the same way labels were pinned, but instead of “terrorists”, we were "traitors". That time the whole nation was subjected to inhuman deportation.

We did not even have enough time to settle down normally in Crimea, as it happened again: persecutions, pressure, and repressions. We do not know peace. I am the great-grandson and grandson of the deportees, the son of those who were born in deportation. I also was born in deportation, and today I am in deportation again. Paradoxical as it may sound, such is the reality.

I hope that those repressions will stop soon; parents will see their sons, children – their fathers, wives – their husbands. I believe that the day will come and my nation will find peace again on our native land professing our religion, developing our culture and giving to the world lots of great scientists for the benefit of mankind. I believe that justice will inevitably prevail".

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