Statement by Mumine Saliieva for the side-event «Ban for Peaceful Assemblies as a Tool for Discrimination in Occupied Crimea»

November 25, 2019

Good day! My name is Mumine Salieva. I am the wife of the political prisoner Seyran Saliev, human rights defender and activist of “Crimean Solidarity”.

Of course, there are a lot of facts of violation of freedom for peaceful meetings in Crimea. This is what is being said at today's event.

I want to start my speech with the phrase of one of activists who went on a solitary picket, from which authorities asked: “Who? Who is the organizer of the pickets? ” To which he replied: “ Heart ”. Collective spirit, cohesion, protection of it's people is what is embedded in the mentality of the Crimean Tatars. Therefore, when they see that in the houses of their compatriots, security forces rush in, armed to the teeth, with automatic machines, with dogs, breaking windows, doors – people cannot pretend that nothing happens, and spontaneously gather at houses and courts. Without organizational action, they go out to solitary pickets to express their political protest against the repression of the indigenous people of Crimea.

My husband, Seyran Saliev, a citizen journalist who is considered as the “record holder” due to the numbers of administrative and criminal articles brought against him, has been held in prison for 2 years. On May 12, 2016, when searches were being conducted in the houses of four Crimean Tatars, and in the house of the Deputy Chairman of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis Ilmi Umerov in Bakhchisarai, he informed the people about the ongoing raids into the loudspeaker of the local mosque. For this, and for allegedly organizing an unauthorized rally at the Salachik ethnographic cafe, my husband was administratively fined for 20,000 rubles (money), because on the same day a search was conducted in this cafe, where more than 200 people gathered.

Today, along with my spouse, dozens of citizen journalists are being held in prisons for fabricated criminal cases. At first they were brought to administrative responsibility exclusively for their social activities and active participation in the affairs of the people, for allegedly participating in so-called unauthorized rallies. These are Nariman Medeminov, Marlen Asanov, Remzi Bekirov, Ruslan Suleymanov, Osman Arifmemetov. At first, the security forces simply knocked out phones and cameras from the hands of citizen journalists who conducted streams at the search sites. But these actions of the security forces did not stop the activists from coming to the raid places and continuing reporting. Therefore, the authorities decided to use the law and apply articles that impose fines and administrative arrests as a way to put pressure on activists and the entire people to drown out activism and instill fear in people.
Along with pressure on activists of Crimean Solidarity, attempts were made to disrupt the monthly meetings of Crimean Solidarity, where lawyers, family members of political prisoners, activists, and all caring people gathered when masked security officials burst into the meeting on the pretext of an anonymous call, or mass checking the documents of those present, or giving the lawyers some warnings so as not to decide to organize mass pickets, etc., etc.

Our older generation is an example for us in peaceful resistance to lawlessness, as well as an invaluable support. On August 11, 2017, the 76-year-old Karametov Server, a veteran of the national movement, with Parkinson's disease and a number of other diseases, was the first to go on a single picket with the banner “Putin, our children are not terrorists. Stop blaming the Crimean Tatars”. Neither the age of Karametov, nor the disease, stopped the authorities. The judge ruled – a fine of 10 000 rubles and 10 days of arrest for the old man. After that, on August 14, 2017, solitary pickets were held in support of the Karametov Server, for which people were detained and fined.

October 11, 2017, the day when my husband and five other activists of Crimean Solidarity, people with legal, pedagogical, philological, and economic education, were arrested, a large number of people gathered at our houses, where 9 people were fined for coming to support their compatriots.

A few days later, on October 14, a wave of more than 100 single pickets passed across Crimea. The Crimean Tatars thereby disagreed with the false accusations, repressions, and came up with posters “Our children are not terrorists. Return the fathers to the children”. On December 18, 2017, trials over Crimean Tatars for single pickets were held in different parts of the Crimea on the same day. Everyone was sentenced for fine from 10 to 20 thousand rubles. Of these, Asan Yanikov, Sheikhaliev Rustem, Izetov Riza, Emiruseinov Rustem, Kantemirov Eldar are in prison as part of criminal cases.

I listed only a few facts that show how grossly violated the rights of the Crimean Tatars, the indigenous people of Crimea, to live free without oppression, to conduct peaceful meetings, including. These facts are like a red line that has already passed over the fate of this nation.