Life of Crimean political prisoners in places of captivity after being transferred

April 4, 2023

All the defendants in the second Bakhchysarai Hizb ut-Tahrir case were transferred to the Russian Federation for further serving their sentences. Maya Mustafayeva, wife of political prisoner Server Mustafayev, told the Crimean Tatar Resource Center about the attitude of employees of Russian colonies and prisoners towards the Crimean Tatars, what conditions of detention.

– Tell me, how and where were the defendants of the second Bakhchysarai Hizb ut-Tahrir case and, in particular, your husband Server Mustafayev, transferred?

– One of the difficulties in the life of a prisoner is transportation. Servers with the rest of the defendants in the case were taken out of the pre-trial detention center in the city of Novocherkassk to Russian colonies for further serving their sentences. First there was a distribution to Bashkiria, passing through Ryazan to Ufa, where they stayed for 4 months. But then they decided to distribute them to other colonies. All seven were scattered across the colonies of the Russian Federation. The server ended up in correctional colony No. 1 in the city of Tambov. This is 1500 km from the Crimea, of course it is very far and every trip on a date is not cheap. With children for days on a train with bags is not easy.

Photo: Crimean Solidarity

– What is the attitude of the employees of the Russian colonies and the prisoners themselves towards the Server?

He is the only Crimean Tatar, a political prisoner. This definitely affected his adaptation in the colony, and to this day he feels close attention and pressure on himself.

If in other colonies, where there are already other political prisoners of Crimea, they know about Crimean Tatars, about morality, their behavior, political aspects, about the persecution of Crimean Tatars, then in this colony they know about him only by his article 205 – he is a terrorist, he is a Muslim. In addition, he is a citizen of Ukraine, in connection with recent events, this was also reflected badly. The employees of the colony absolutely do not know what is happening in the Crimea, for them the Crimea is the territory of Russia and that’s all. Since the article is about terrorism, then this is a bad thing. And the Server had to fight it all, to prove that white is white and black is black.

– How are things going with the conditions of detention? Are there any complaints?

– Of course, this is not the worst colony. There is water, heat, but no hot water, no gym. You end up in a colony and immediately have to go to work. There are also problems with food, they absolutely do not meet the minimum standards. Yes, thank God there is that when they cook with pork fat, they separate the porridge separately without it.

The server works in a sewing shop. There, too, of course, the rules and conditions that must be observed under the Labor Code are violated: dust, lighting, an unventilated room, chairs not intended for sitting, since the working day is in a sitting position. Working hours from 8 am to 8 pm. All the time goes to work, there is not enough time to do their own thing.

Server also entered the university at the Faculty of Law, but for half a year we have not been able to achieve the study itself, there are problems with the installation of equipment.

How are Muslims treated in the Russian colony? Are there any conditions for performing 5 prayers, for example?

— Employees absolutely do not know about Muslims, about their canons of religion. The server was very surprised when he was told that the Koran in Arabic is forbidden in the colony. There is a church on the territory of the colony, but there is no mosque, there is not even a prayer room. Of course, they give prayers and do not interfere with this.

— What is the morale of the Server? Does he keep fighting?

– The Server, of course, is in a fighting mood, as always. He says: There is no right to surrender! When you know that you are waiting for freedom. We hold ourselves to inspire you, you fight, inspiring us, with your struggle, solidarity. Since the Almighty was pleased that I got here alone in these conditions, then I must introduce my people, my history to those people next to whom I am now. I am the face of this people, Crimean Tatars and Muslims will be judged by me. We must show this in the best possible way, with our behavior, actions, upbringing, position.

Recall that after the occupation of Crimea, the Russian Federation actively practices religious persecution on the peninsula. According to the Crimean Tatar Resource Center, 101 people are being prosecuted in the Hizb ut-Tahrir case, 98 of them are representatives of the indigenous Crimean Tatar people. 73 of them are serving sentences in Russian prisons and colonies, and 24 are in pre-trial detention, 2 are under house arrest, 3 have been released.