W ramach kampanii „Bycie sobą nie jest zbrodnią!” Ministerstwo Spraw Zagranicznych Ukrainy rozpoczyna projekt #Unbreakable - #Niezłomni, którego celem jest wsparcie więźniów Kremla: Ukraińców i Tatarów krymskich nielegalnie uwięzionych przez Rosję na czasowo okupowanym Krymie i na terenie Federacji Rosyjskiej. Projekt obejmuje publikacje listów publicznych pisanych przez ukraińskich więźniów politycznych z więzień.
„Wsparcie i uwolnienie wszystkich ukraińskich więźniów politycznych jest jednym z głównych priorytetów MSZ. Rozpoczynamy projekt #Unbreakable, dedykowany naszym obywatelom, nielegalnie uwięznionym i przetrzymywanym w rosyjskich więzieniach. Głównym celem inicjatywy jest opowiedzenie historii więźniów Kremla: ich przeżyć i przemyśleń, marzeń i nadziei oraz zwrócenie uwagi na systemowe represje na okupowanym Krymie. Projekt ma również na celu uświadomienie światu jacy niezwyciężeni duchem są więźniowie Kremla. To prawie jedyne lekarstwo, które uchroni ich przed torturami i nieludzkim traktowaniem w więzieniach. „Rozgłos ratuje życie” - podkreśla pierwsza wiceminister spraw zagranicznych Ukrainy Emine Dzhaparowa.
Data rozpoczęcia kampanii – 16 maja - jest symboliczna. W tym dniu Ukraina upamiętnia ofiar represji politycznych - naszych rodaków, bezlitośnie torturowanych i zabitych przez sowiecki reżim totalitarny. Federacja Rosyjska zrewitalizowała metody radzieckiego reżimu i rozpoczęła masowe kampanie represyjne na czasowo okupowanych terytoriach Ukrainy. Obecnie Rosja nadal nielegalnie przetrzymuje ponad 100 obywateli Ukrainy z powodów politycznych za kratkami na okupowanym Krymie i na terytorium Federacji Rosyjskiej.
Co tydzień będziemy publikować na naszej stronie i profilu na Facebooku, listy więźniów politycznych, aby podzielić się ich historiami i opowiedzieć o represjach na czasowo okupowanym półwyspie.
Pierwszym bohaterem projektu #Unbreakable jest dziennikarz Osman Arifmemetow. Przed aresztowaniem transmitował na żywo akcje przeszukania i uprowadzenia Tatarów krymskich na okupowanym Krymie. Teraz grozi mu do 20 lat więzienia pod fałszywymi zarzutami terroryzmu.
LIST od Osmana Arifmemetowa
Congratulations to everyone! My name is Osman. I am a Crimean Tatar and a citizen of Ukraine. I have lived in Crimea since 1990. I returned to my homeland at the age of five from Uzbekistan, where my ancestors, together with the entire Crimean Tatar people, were deported in 1944.
I am a professional teacher of mathematics and computer science. Until 2014, I had worked as a programmer. However, due to the occupation, the company left Crimea. Afterwards, I earned my living by teaching programming classes for children privately. While my dear wife took care of our two young children.
Since 2014, the situation in Crimea has changed. The majority of the Crimean Tatar people did not support Russia's invasion in the peninsula. They did not participate in the fake referendum on March 16, 2014, boycotted the vote in the 2018 presidential elections and the referendum 2020 for amendments to the Constitution. Thus, the entire people came under the occupant’s flywheel of political reprisals because of their dissent political position and their own vision of the way of their homeland’s future. On the international arena, Russia gained an image of the aggressor, while Crimean Tatar people proved to be a civilized partner.
Since 2016, citizen journalism became my main activity. Professional journalism in Crimea has disappeared. Some media outlets and journalists were forced to leave for mainland Ukraine. Professional journalists who remained on the peninsula simply left the profession because they could not work under the severe pressure and censorship. All that remains are the federal pro-government media, which function as propagandists and do not give an unbiased picture.
Crimea has actually turned into an information ghetto, where the work of professional media is complicated and dangerous. However, the request for unbiased information still exists, and someone has to talk about repressions and persecution. In such conditions, the citizen journalism emerged. People without any previous professional media experience, took their phones, tablets and started filming and sharing on the Internet the real situation on the peninsula. Very quickly, they became almost the only source of truthful information from the occupied Crimea.
In 2017, I managed to record on my smartphone the moment when the Russian Federal Security Service officers abducted activist Bilyal Adilov. In just a few days, tens of thousands of people watched the abduction video on the Internet. During the filming of the following raids in the house of my compatriots, I was detained and arrested for five days. My tablet was extracted and sent for examination. Together with the journalist Timur Ibragimov and human rights activist Riza Izetov, I was put in the cellar of the Center for Countering Extremism.
In March 2019, the most massive arrests of activists, human rights activists, and journalists of the Crimean Solidarity public association took place. 25 people were detained, including me. At that time, my son was one and a half years old, and my daughter was three and a half.
During detention, I was taken to the forest and beaten until I lost the consciousness.
Most of us are facing up 20 years of imprisonment, while four detainees - even the life sentence. We consider our detention as politically motivated. We oppose the accusations against us. We do not plead guilty, especially in terrorism activity, and we consider it as unacceptable manner.
Throughout the history of the struggle for their rights, the Crimean Tatar people had never resorted to violence. The history of the national movement in exile is a proof. For 30 years, there have been no one terrorist attack or terrorists in Crimea. Islam and terrorism have nothing in common. Islam is against terrorism.
I do not foster any illusions. I understand that Russian courts do not serve justice. Our release is a political matter.
It is important for you to know that we will continue our nonviolent fight for our rights. We are not terrorists.
It is important for you to know about those who continue their civic activity in Crimea. They need your support.
I believe that with your help we could stop Russia’s reprisals in Crimea and release all political prisoners.
I fight for the prosperity of my people and for justice.
I dream to return to my family, to hug my relatives and friends.
I dream about free Crimea with the end to reprisals, and then together we can change our common future for the better.
Citizen journalist, prisoner of conscience
LIST od Włladyslawa Jesypenki
Vladyslav Yesypenko, freelance journalist of the “Krym.Realii” internet-news agency. Prior to his arrest, he covered social and environmental issues and filmed surveys of the Crimean citizens. On March 10 in this year, he was illegally detained in Simferopol. The Russian occupation administration accuses the journalist of gathering information "in the interests of Ukraine's special services" and of storing an "improvised explosive device" in the car. Why this is a lie – read in a letter from Vladyslav, written for “Krym.Realii”.
I do not always have the opportunity to release letters from the Simferopol pre-trial detention center (MDC) where I am now. Sometimes they can get there too late. Sometimes – not to fall at all. Sometimes I don't have time to finish the text and pass it on as it is.
I write on what it is necessary. Leaflets, pieces of paper. Handy tools and the interior is the same... Cell, grilles, bolts. A real reconstruction of events... I, the grandson of my grandfather Athanasius Fursa, who was repressed and shot by the "troika" in Chernihiv on May 9, 1938, am sitting, 84 years later, in the same scenery. Only in the Crimea. And I am waiting for the verdict of the totalitarian regime. Just as my grandfather, the "enemy of the people", the father of five children, had expected. I'm 52. He was ten years younger...
It happened the day after I filmed the action of laying flowers to the Taras Shevchenko monument. On March 10, he was traveling from the South Coast to Simferopol. After the village of Perevalne, I was stopped with a stick by a traffic police officer. Then the FSB (Federal Security Council) officers approached and laid him on the ground. Then they picked me up and started searching the car. I was indignant. I was telling that the FSB was working "awkwardly" and that they would have a black bar ... But when I saw a grenade being planted on the cabin, I realized that the black bar seemed to have started for me. And it can obviously drag on.
I was forced to sign search reports. I refused, to which an FSB officer in Balaklava (apparently a senior) said that now we would go to another place, where I would sign everything he said: "And not such split".
I was put in a bus, wearing black glasses and headphones (I couldn’t see anything, I couldn’t hear anything). In complete invisibility we drove for about an hour. At some point I managed to raise my glasses, and I saw a road sign: "Sevastopol - 46 km". They stopped in ten minutes. I realized that we had arrived in Bakhchisarai. They led me into the basement of the building and silently began to undress.
I resisted. But since there were four of them and I was in handcuffs, it didn't help me. They knocked me to the floor, put wires with loops on my ears and turned on the electricity. The pain was unbearable. Nobody paid attention to my cries. The boys worked in harmony and without emotions.
In the pauses between tortures, questions were asked: "The purpose of coming to the Crimea?", "We know that you are a journalist, but tell us about the tasks of the secret services of Ukraine", "When were you recruited?", "What and where did you shoot in the Crimea?", "What do you know about the colonel Kravchuk?". It was also said that I had the experience of avoiding tracking, as I often accelerated and braked while driving. That is, the "ability to avoid surveillance" hinted at my espionage nature.
- I was driving on navigation! - I answer. - And, of course, I accelerated and slowed down when I saw the radar on the navigation. If the answer to any of the questions did not suit them, they put on the wires again and turned on the electricity. At some point, I realized that the pain could be tolerated, and as my cries became weaker, the FSB officers, apparently professionals, assessed the situation, increased the current, and the pain became unbearable again.
My tongue cracked and began to bleed. Maybe because of the current discharges, or maybe because I bit him hard during the screams. When I started spitting blood, the FSB officers "carefully" brought water and even took me to the toilet.
One of the "good" FSB officers, when asked how much I earn on my stories, said that "in Russia you would be paid ten times more". Then the "good" said that I was "not quite sincere" with them, so I need to stand up "lying down" and push back, and if I get tired and stop, I will be kicked. I got tired pretty quickly. I was hit in the body and groin.
The "good" officer during the executions demanded that I should shout "Glory to Ukraine!". In response, I shouted "Really, Glory to the heroes!" (Used their prison slang to make it clearer to them). Then there was another interrogation. The same "good" officer offered me to choose the method of torture: current or squeezing. I chose to push back, but I was electrocuted again. Only now taped to a chair.
During one of the strong discharges of pain, I jumped up, tore the tape I was holding, and tore the black mask from my face and saw that I was in a basement without windows. There were also five FSB officers in balaclavas. And I was tortured with a device similar to an army field telephone. I was knocked off my feet and taped to my chair again, continuing the interrogation. After a while, a woman (apparently also the FSB officer) went down to the basement and, putting the sensors on my fingers, began to check with a lie detector. I was asked the same questions again. After the polygraph in the basement, I signed some papers, told the camera that I was a "spy" and that I was performing the SSU tasks.
Hell. Deadlock. And a sense of the absurdity of what is happening. I must say that at critical moments I joked in black. How can you joke in hell. Standing in the basement lying flat, I told the FSB officers that with such loads you can not go to the gym. After that, they kicked me even harder, saying that I was being bullied...
The next day (as I was glad that the next day had come) I was shown a place near Armyansk where a grenade allegedly lay, which I allegedly took for "self-defense against the Crimean Tatars". And when the investigator arrived, he showed the place of refuge on a video camera.
I still can't understand why the FSB officers chose a grenade instead of a pistol for "self-defense against the Tatars". That is, if "aggressive Crimean Tatars" came across my path, I would have to blow them up with me against the instinct of self-preservation? On the other hand, I should have been "grateful" to the FSB for planting a grenade on me, not drugs, for example, because in the pre-trial detention center and prison did not treat convicts under Article 228 (drug trafficking) very well.
In the evening of March 11, I was taken to the FSB office, where I first saw investigator Vlasov and appointed lawyer Violetta Sineglazova. A round lady with a good face told me that if I confessed everything, I would be able to go home not in six, but in three years. Investigator Vlasov promised assistance in food, clothing and, as the main argument, the opportunity to call my wife on mainland Ukraine (although, as he said, they "do not have it"). I understood that if there were no private and honest lawyers and connections with the mainland, then I had little chance.
Later, when independent lawyers Emil Kurbedinov and Oleksiy Ladin entered the case and I reported in court about the torture and withdrew my testimony, which was beaten out of torture, I was taken to a basement in Simferopol. There they thought about what they would do with me. I thought: "The end of you, Vlad! Now you will be hanged on the bars. In Kryvyi Rih, a street will be named after you, and children near your grave would be accepted as pioneers".
But it passed.
Here, in the pre-trial detention center, as in the "kingdom of curved mirrors". Nothing shows the ugly nature of the occupying power as the constant filling of the cells with new people who were detained on fabricated evidence. Almost every day in the pre-trial detention center, new people are arrested on suspicion of espionage, planning terrorist attacks, and spreading and propagating religious movements banned in Russia. I saw three boys, one of whom was 18 years old at the time of his arrest. They are made the case as terrorists (the name of one of them – Valentin Khoroshavin). They allegedly hung leaflets with Ukrainian symbols and wanted to blow up the market in Simferopol. What to say, if I talked to a guy, he is completely blind, walks with a stick? He is considered the head of a terrorist center in Crimea! What about me? After the statement about torture in the FSB I am not physically touched. I try to play sports while walking in the prison yard. We are allowed to go out into the fresh air once a day. I read the press transmitted from mainland Ukraine.
I am grateful to the huge number of people and the media who are fighting for me at large. And they help in the Crimea. Thanks also to the Russian FSB, which provided an unprecedented opportunity for a freelance journalist for Radio Liberty not only to become an observer in a pre-trial detention center in the occupied Crimea, but also to try their hand at their "investigation" methods, which can either drive them crazy or put an end to them.
It didn't break me, but my hair seemed to turn gray.