La Crimea occupata dalle forze russe rimane un “buco nero” dal punto di vista dei diritti umani, dove lontano dalle fonti di informazioni occidentali la repressione del regime di Putin può esercitarsi senza veli. La minoranza presa di mira, dopo l’eliminazione di quella ucraina, è tartara, cioè discendente dalla etnia più antica della regione. Nonostante le risoluzioni dell’Onu e della Corte di Giustizia internazionale in favore del rispetto dei diritti umani, Mosca mette in atto forme di intimidazione e disinformazione, affidate principalmente al servizio segreto, l’FSB, erede diretto del Kgb.
Russia’s retribution for the UN resolution condemning the occupation of Crimea and demanding she comply with the order of the International Court of Justice adopted on 15 November 2017 was a new assault on the Crimean Tatar community. The ruthless actions of the occupation forces claimed the life of a revered Crimean Tatar movement veteran and cost four activists their freedom. One of them is a father of another current political hostage. As the international community is not going to tolerate the illegal ban of the Crimean Tatar self-government, the Mejlis, the occupiers are trying to tarnish its supporters as “criminals” using a range of disinformation tools.
On 23 November, Russian secret police (FSB) raided two cafes and a number of houses in Crimea’s capital, Simferopol, where they searched and detained several aged Crimean Tatars. 83-y.o. Vedzhie Kashka, a prominent figure in the history of the Crimean Tatar liberation struggle during the Soviet era, was also among the targets of that special operation. Unfortunately, the woman had a heart attack due to the actions of the “law enforcers” and died in the ambulance. Kremlin-controlled media have done their best to silence this tragic outcome.
The occupation court sent four men, Bekir Dehermendzhy, Asan Chapukh, Ruslan Trubach, and Kyazym Ametov, to remand jail until mid-January. With their capture, the number of Ukrainian citizens considered by human rights defenders as de facto political prisoners of the Russian regime reached at least 60. This number is prone to increase as several other cases may also have signs of politically motivated persecution.
The raids of 23 November took place less than a week after the UN General Assembly committee adopted a draft resolution demanding Moscow fulfill the order of the International Court of Justice of April 2017. In particular, regarding the supposed violation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in occupied Crimea, the order implies the restoration of the Mejlis, the representative body of the Crimean Tatar people. The latter was banned by Russia as an “extremist organization” in 2016.
The FSB claims that the four persons detained on 23 November 2017 are members of the Mejlis though, in fact, none of them are.
This deliberate distortion opens a new page of Russia’s propaganda campaign against the body after a short-lived perplexity caused by the pardoning of two Mejlis vice-chairs by President Putin. In October, Akhtem Chiygoz and Ilmi Umerov, who had been convicted by Russian courts for opposing the occupation of Crimea, suddenly regained freedom and were transferred to Turkey. They were reportedly swapped for the two Russian citizens, who were arrested by Turkish authorities for spying and involvement in the killing of Chechnya’s anti-Russian insurgency fighter.
So far, Chiygoz has been the only person found “guilty” in the concocted “26 February” case instituted by Russian investigators against the Crimean Tatar activists. The defendants in this case took part in a rally in support of Ukraine’s territorial integrity on 26 February 2014, several weeks before the annexation of Crimea. The two activists arrested in this case, Mustafa Dehermendzy and Ali Asanov, who were unsuccessfully pressured to slander Chiygoz, are still waiting for their verdicts. They were kept in remand jail for almost two years until April 2017, when they were placed under house arrest. In 2016, the authoritative Memorial Human Rights Center recognized Chiygoz, Asanov, and Dehermedzhy as political prisoners.