June 19, 2021

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Russian prison system is a time bomb for the health of a Crimean Tatar

Russian prison system is a time bomb for the health of a Crimean Tatar




Teymur Abdullayev. Photo: Crimean solidarity

06/09/2021 – 10:13 pm •

Other, Political Prisoners, Russian Aggression








Article by: Yuliia Rudenko

Edited by: Alya Shandra

Russia’s illegal occupation of the Ukrainian Crimea, home of the Crimean Tatars, sent a wave of terror across the peninsula. Russian occupation authorities are jumping through hoops to gag Crimean dissidents, including clerics, journalists and activists. The Crimean Tatars, who have mounted a general peaceful resistance to the occupation since 2014, are bearing the brunt of the repression. Russian-controlled kangaroo courts churn out falsified criminal cases against them. Teymur Abdullayev he is one of the Crimean Tatars who fell into the hands of the Russian Themis. Concern is now mounting in the face of its complications of Covid-19 in Russian prison conditions.

On 12 October 2016, the Kamenka and Strohanovka districts of the Crimean city of Simferopol saw arbitrary mass searches of the homes of Crimean Tatars. The searches were followed by the arrest of five innocent people on terrorism charges. Among them were two brothers – Teymur Abdullayev is Uzeir Abdullayev.

Five unjustly convicted of alleged involvement in Hizb ut-Tahrir in Crimea. Photo: Memorial

Teymur Abdullayev was indicted under article 205.5 (1) Russian Criminal Code, “organization of activities of a terrorist organization”, while Uzeir Abdullayev, Rustem Ismailov, Aider Saledinov and Emil Dzhemadenov were charged under article 205.5 (2), “participation in the activities of a terrorist organization”.

On June 18, 2019, the North Caucasus court-martial in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, of judges AV Kolesnik, IV Kostin, is YV Korobenko issued a guilty verdict against all five Crimean Tatars, sentencing Teymur Abdullayev to 17 years in prison, Uzeir Abdullayev to 13, Rustem Ismailov to 14, and Aider Saledinov and Emil Dzhemadenov to 12 years in a colony of strict regime. Following the appeal proceedings, the Supreme Court of Russia reduced the sentence for each detainee by “up to six months”.

The five innocent Crimean Tatars are serving their time behind bars in the No. 2 and n. 16 in the city of Salavat, Republic of Bashkortostan, Russia. Russia was found to be in violation of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the right to private and family life) by imprisoning the Crimean Tatars thousands of kilometers away from their loved ones.

The defendants in this case deny their guilt and believe the accusation is based on religion, as the Crimean Tatars profess Islam. This case is also referred to as Simferopol case of Hizb-ut Tahrir.

Hizb ut-Tahrir is a transnational pan-Islamist organization that adheres exclusively to peaceful means. None of its members have been convicted of terrorist acts. Russia is one of two countries in the world (along with Uzbekistan) to have compared Hizb ut-Tahrir to a terrorist organization. This is done to obtain legal tools to combat religious dissent by persecuting the Muslim community in Russia and in Russian-occupied Crimea. As of March 26, 2021, at least 322 people in Russia and Crimea have been arrested for alleged affiliation with Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Simferopol group of the Hizb ut-Tahrir case. Photo: Crimean solidarity

According to lawyers in such cases, no material evidence of guilt or involvement with terrorism of the defendants was found. The only “evidence” presented is the audio of the defendant’s conversations about religion in a mosque.

“The five men were tried under the terrorism law without being charged with terrorism”, concluded the prominent Human Rights Center Memorial by recognizing these Crimean Tatars as political prisoners.

The UN, the OSCE, the European Parliament and other renowned international bodies have issued numerous resolutions calling on Russia to release political prisoners.

Teymur Abdullayev has been illegally detained in a detention cell for more than a year. Russian human rights defender Lev Ponomaryov addressed a request for information to the Criminal Service in Bashkortostan on the reason for keeping Abdullayev in a punishment cell forever and a day. But there was no answer.

According to Teymur himself, the reason Russian prison staff are keeping him in dire condition is his refusal to cooperate with the Russian FSB and provide false testimony against other Crimean Tatars. Evidence is abundant that the FSB resorts to torturing and threatening prisoners in order to squeeze “evidence”.

To make matters worse, Teymur’s health deteriorated considerably after his imprisonment. This is largely due to the conditions in Russian prisons. Teymur Abdullayev faced a hypertensive crisis and suffers from complications related to Covid-19. Teymur’s mother is a doctor and believes her son suffers from inflammation of the heart muscle after recovering from Covid-19.

In a punishment cell, Teymur has virtually no time outside a small stuffy room, where the bunk bed is only lowered for several hours from the late night and raised at around 4-5am. That is, Abdullayev has to stand or sit on an uncomfortable wooden stool for most hours of the day.

Given his health, prison staff must ensure Abdullayev adequate medical tests and place him in a special medical unit, which is clearly required. But knowingly they don’t. Previously, Abdullayev’s lawyer Emil Kurbedinov noted that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has begun to follow the situation. But the prison staff say they are acting according to the law.

Indeed, inadequate access to health care for prisoners can be seen as cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or torture. The European Court of Human Rights in its case Salakhov and Islyamova v Ukraine [2013] ECHR, question no. 28005/08 established that “a prison health service should be able to provide medical care […] in conditions comparable to those enjoyed by patients in the external community “and that”[w]wherever prisoners need to be hospitalized or visited by a specialist in a hospital, they must be transported with the care and in the manner required by their state of health ”.

Teymur Abdullayev with his children. Photo: Crimean solidarity

I want to believe that my children will overcome these difficult and unfair challenges they faced in this dark hour “, wrote Diliara Abdullayev, the mother of the two political prisoners, on her Facebook.

Teymur Abdullayev is a lawyer, Taekwon-Do instructor and father of five. He and his brother Uzeir Abdullayev are the grandsons of a prominent linguist and member of the Azerbaijani Academy of Sciences. They were raised by Diliara Abdullayeva alone, as their father died when the brothers were little. Both Teymur and Uzeir worked as instructors in Simferopol and prior to the occupation of Crimea, they provided training to policemen, many of whom changed sides in 2014. One such officer approached Uzeir’s wife to let her know that the allegations against her husband had been forged but “1/4 inch is 1/4 inch”.

The slogan of the Center for Civil Liberties, the Ukrainian NGO for human rights working for the release of Ukrainian political prisoners from the Kremlin, says: “Our solidarity is stronger than Russian prisons”.

Edited by: Alya Shandra

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Tags: Crimean Tatars, Kremlin political prisoners


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