Crimean Tatar Resource Center

Statement by Mumine Saliieva for the round table “Human rights violations in the occupied Crimea and discrimination against the Crimean Tatar people”

25 November 2019

I would like to express my gratitude for providing me the opportunity to explain the current situation and repressions native people of Crimea – the Crimean Tatars.

My name is Mumine Salieva. I am a PhD student currently writing a dissertation in economic sciences. I am also a Mom of four young children, and a wife of political prisoner Seyran Saliev.

In October 11, 2017 at 6 o'clock in the morning, our house was stormed by the FSB officers. Without explaining the reasons, the security forces began to conduct a search. Messing up the whole house upside down, they searched for weapons on the pages of children's books, scientific and religious literature. It is as vivid for my children as if it happened yesterday, though it was not the first search in our house.

After the geopolitical changes in 2014, the authorities blocked the work of independent media in Crimea, literally expelling them outside the peninsula. Consequently, Crimea gradually turned into a gray zone. Later, the function of highlighting the news and media activities shifted to the ordinary people who were not journalists. Me and my husband was one of them. We started to visit trial proceedings, families of prisoners, and wrote about the events in our social pages on Facebook.

At first, my husband has been subjected to administrative proceedings three times. The first punishment was a penalty and 12-days arrest. The reason for the punishment was launching the alert using the microphone of the mosque in Bakhchisaray in 12 May 2016 about searches in the houses of the Crimean Tatar people. He was accused of organizing numerous mass meetings near the restaurant called Salachik which also were searched at the same day. People spontaneously, without agreeing, came to the places of searches, because the Crimean Tatars are friendly people. It's the custom of my people to help one another when we're in trouble. People do not agree with the ongoing raids, searches, arrests, so they come with solidarity and support.

Thus, law enforcement agencies gave such a warning signal to my husband in the form of an administrative penalty for civic engagement and activism. They tried to force him to give up from activism and just to keep silent or to leave the Crimean peninsula. This did not happen. Therefore, a criminal case was initiated against him based on the article of terrorism. This family tragedy prompted me to become even more involved in civic activism. I strenuously began to engage in human rights activities and civil journalism.
It should be noted that almost all political prisoners are fathers of many children, among whom there is a father of 13 children. 170 minor children were left without fathers.
67 Crimean Tatars are in Russian prisons, persecuted on religious and national bases. The whole community of Crimean Tatars found themselves in the dock on indiscriminate charges of extremism and terrorism Only for the fact that a person has his own opinion, his own point of view, beliefs, only for the fact that a person does not think as the authorities want, for reading religious literature, talking in mosques, for civic activism and open position.

Weekly searches, hundreds of administrative charges in the form of arrests and fines, dozens of politically motivated criminal cases, torture, kidnapping, persecution of entire families as in the case of the Abdullayev, Aliyev, Degermendzhi, Kulametov, Belyalovykh, Suleymanov, Omerov, Yanikov families, all visually demonstrating that today Russian anti-terrorist and anti-extreremist legislation is being used as a tool to combat dissent dictated by the current government.

Today, the Russian legal proceedings, representatives of law enforcement agencies and special services, allow a number of offenses indicating the violations of their own legislation. In addition to this, we observe how international law and laws have been ignored for 5 years, despite all resolutions and sanctions.

The ongoing pressure is transforming into the genocide of an entire people. For example, Amnesty International, one of the largest international human rights organization, recognized human rights defender Emir Usein Kuku as a prisoner of conscience, but he has already been spent in prison for four years.

Seeing that over the past years the political situation in Crimea remained unchanged, the Crimean Tatar people and caring people of various nationalities consolidated to resist the growing repressive machine as well as the hybrid deportation of the Crimean Tatars as the indigenous people of Crimea by peaceful non-violent methods. Thus, the public association Crimean Solidarity emerged. Crimean Solidarity is a popular platform consisting of families of political prisoners, lawyers and all those who could not accept the injustice, which breaks the fate of not only adults, but also hundreds of children left without their fathers. Crimean Solidarity is engaged in fixing and documenting offenses, as well as covering all political processes in the Crimea. And for this, the activists of the Crimean solidarity, civilian journalists are also subject to prosecution. More than 30 political prisoners are activists of the Crimean solidarity, among them Server Mustafayev, Nariman Memedeminov, Remzi Bekirov, Riza Izetov, Osman Arifmemetov, Ruslan Suleymanov, Rustem Sheyhaliev, my husband and others.

We see no improvement in the situation around the Crimean Tatars. On the contrary, over the past six months the situation has worsened. In the past six months, as many people were arrested as there were arrested in all the previous 4 years. The sentences are brutal and include 13 and 17 years of imprisonment. During these six months the tendency to persecute whole families, as well as the persecution of women, became apparent. For example, on May 30, 2019, I and another activist were detained by the Center of Political Extremism staff on the pretext of reposting a Facebook publication containing forbidden symbols for 2013. Of course, this is just a formal occasion, with the main goal to intimidate and also give a signal that we should leave our civic engagement.

Our people survived the deportation in 1944. Today the deportation of Crimean Tatars to Russian prisons takes place. There is a hybrid deportation in the 21st century, which calls itself civilized and modern.

The whole world community, designating itself as the guarantors of peace, justice and order, is obliged to immediately respond to all facts of violations and repressions against humanity, in particular in today's Crimea.