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In 2014, Russia attacked Ukraine and occupied Crimea. Since then, Ukraine has been in war for independence for almost eight years. The indigenous people of Crimea are the Kyrims (Crimean Tatars). Until recently, they had their own Parliament, the Majlis. Now it is defeated. Russia pursues a policy of repression on the indigenous people in the occupied territory. Nariman Dzhelyal was arrested few days ago, Sep 07 2021. This is purely political persecution. He is to be sentenced to 15 years in GULAG. This is a setback to Stalin’s time. Read his letter from the KGB prison and distribute it as much as possible, please - it will be poster here soon. The world must know how Russia destroys Crimean Tatars.
Nariman Dzhelyal's Facebook
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Crimean Tatars must once again fear dawn raids and arrests under Russian occupation
By Halya Coynash
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Sep 05 2021
Today is Sunday. After a tiring, stressful day, I am in the cell of the Simferopol Temporary Detention Facility (SIVS). Finally, I managed to lie down and stretch out. I can’t fall asleep, although I managed to doze off several times in the last 24 hours. Either light of the lamp, or loud conversations of the detention facility staff, or thoughts in my head keep me from falling asleep. The night is ahead, as is the deterrence trial. There are no illusions. I have observed this process from the outside many times, now I am experiencing it myself. Theory and practice.
I am writing and trying to eat. Leviza, my beloved wife, handed over too much food. I managed to eat in the FSB (Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation) transport before going to SIVS. But I don't like to waste food, so I am swallowing dumplings one at a time. When else will I have a chance to eat homemade or just generally normal food?
I am trying to convince myself that everything will be fine with my family. The investigator allowed me to call my wife. I told her that I was okay, I loved her, and believed that she will endure everything. I really miss her. I believe that friends will help. What needs to be done, I conveyed through the lawyer Emine Hanım.
All the searches, interrogations, and being in the cell are not particularly disturbing. I have been expecting this turn of events for a long time. I was surprised that I was taken because of “sabotage”. I never thought of doing something like this. This is not my method. But it turned out as it did. I try not to think about this too much. Ahead are interrogations, trials, etc. I am in solitary confinement. It reminds me of my last room in the university dorm. It was nicer and smaller, but I am used to Spartan conditions, so everyday life does not bother me yet. Let's see what happens next. But others have endured it, and I will try too.
I asked Emine Hanım to tell everyone that I was okay and that I was staying strong. My family, my elderly parents are most important. I hope to see them and hug them again. When they took me away, my father asked: "Will they jail you?" I put my hand on his shoulder and said that everything was going to be all right. The hope of returning home has arisen and faded several times over the past day. Now I regret not hugging my parents. All in the will of Allah. If only they stayed strong. Saturday morning started with Leviza waking me up, saying that someone was knocking on our door. I have already started to understand what was about to happen, but I didn’t want to believe it yet. I ran to the window and saw a man in a balaclava jumping over the fence. I ran to my wife, told her to get dressed and wake up the children. I put on my clothes and tried to call Zair Ağa, but there was no signal. They began to knock on the door. I opened the window and asked not to break in and frighten the children. Having heard an affirmative answer, I opened the door. There were about 13 men in the yard. Some in balaclavas, others without. I was shown a search warrant regarding the case of the explosion of a gas pipeline in Perevalnoye. By this time, I already knew about two other searches and detentions. Later I learned from a lawyer about five arrests, including me.
I was immediately asked to hand over my phone and laptop. They did not touch my wife’s and children’s gadgets. I did not act nearly as I should have acted. And only now have I started to understand that I was intuitively trying to protect my family from everything that was going on as quickly as possible. Despite the possible harm to myself. Therefore, I tried to meet the requirements of the people searching. At that time, my fate was of little concern to me. The search was superficial, purely formal, and did not last long. I was told that I would have to follow them.
When I asked where to, the answer was: “To the ROVD (District Department of Internal Affairs)”. The first hope lit up. We stood in the yard and waited for transport. The protocol of the search was not shown to me, was not read, and I was not asked to sign it. Outside the gates, Lemmar Ağa was rebelling, demanding to make sure that everything was in order. Eskender Ağa climbed onto a pile of rocks and was filming on the phone, asking where his son Aziz, who had been detained at night, was. Later I saw him in the FSB building, but I was unable to speak to him.
On command, we went out into the street, where there was a traditional blue transporter without numbers. I was quickly escorted into the back seat between two officers. The rest of the seats were taken by other people in balaclavas – 8 of them. We took off and rushed at high speed to Simferopol. When we passed the Moskoltso without turning in the direction of the station (the road to the ROVD) I got a bad feeling for the first time. We drove along Kievskaya to the intersection with Tolstoy Street. At a traffic light near the trolleybus park, they put a sack over my head and handcuffed me. We turned right. This road led both to the ROVD, to the CPE (Centre for Countering Extremism), and to the FSB, I thought. But we rushed on. My hope faded for the first time. We drove for about an hour, with a significant part of the way at high speed along the highway. I thought maybe to Sevastopol, but soon I stopped perceiving time and space. Soon we arrived at the destination. Without taking off the sack and handcuffs, I was taken to a building, to a basement room. It was light. There were at least four people in the room. I was sat on a chair with my back forward. After that, the man with the imperious voice immediately began to accuse me of blowing up the gas pipeline. Using strong epithets, he was saying that I set up the young guys. Using my authority, encouraged them to commit a crime, etc. After him, the "good cop" spoke with a soft voice. He asked if the handcuffs weren’t too tight, talked about the situation in Crimea. He was replaced by the "bad cop". He said that the guys had confessed, and he was aware of everything, but wanted to hear it from me. He threatened that I had two paths ahead: bad and very bad.
Apparently, a stressful situation, my knowledge of what had happened in these basements before, and several other reasons made me talk. Simple human fear has done its job. I thought many times about how I would behave in such a situation and knew that this was not my strongest side. Taking risks daily in public space, I wanted to be a "tough hero" here too, but...
There was only one thought: did the guys really tell something, what exactly, or I was being fooled. I was not afraid to put myself under threat. A part of me knew how it would end. I have seen and heard this very often. I didn't want to hurt the guys. I began to speak – carefully, trying to delay it as much as possible.
Finally, the “bad cop” gave up and started telling me what they had known. Once again reminded me that things could go badly. And I confirmed his information, hoping that it would not harm the guys, but at the same time would save me from torture or other use of force. I can only say that when you sit chained, with a sack on your head, surrounded by you know who, every second you expect a blow or something like that.
Moreover, the last thing I wanted to do was to tell on camera a story composed by some officer about my participation in the sabotage. I chose my story. Even though Emine Avamileva, when the lawyer was finally allowed to see me, lamented that I should not have done this. Sometimes the “bad” and “good” cops would leave the room, and I heard others talking about how – to put it mildly – bad the Crimean Tatars are. I think they tried to knock me off balance with such conversations, filled with well-known Tatar-hating quotes. I was silent. We were waiting for a polygraph specialist. During this time, I was offered water and food. I refused to eat but had a couple of sips of water. Once, for about half an hour, they forced me to stand up, after that they allowed me to sit down.
Finally, we went upstairs to some office. The sack and the handcuffs were removed. There were three people in the office: two hefty men in balaclavas and one girl who introduced herself as a psychologist. She asked me to repeat what I had said in the room downstairs and asked if I was ready to take a polygraph test. The big man sitting closer to me reminded me of a bad and a very bad outcome once again. It was the “bad cop”. I asked him what happened to the guys and what their condition was. He said that they were not touched, and I would meet them again. Then he went out and I did not see him anymore. The rest spoke calmly. I asked what the time was. It was 15:30. We started a polygraph test. Tedious, tiresome job. The polygraph psychologist had warned me about it. I was very tired of stress, hunger, and constant sitting. I had a headache. They gave me water and offered me some chocolate and crispbreads. I didn't eat. We finished when it got dark. They put the sack back on my head but didn’t handcuff me, took me outside, and put me in the transport. I listened to the voices of two. One said that I was being taken to Franko Boulevard (where the Directorate of the FSB of Russia for the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol is located), to the investigator as a witness. They even said that after they are finished with me, they would not be able to take me home and I would have to get there myself. Hope flickered again, even though I was driving it away. In the FSB building on Franko Boulevard, the sack was removed, and I was taken to the investigator Vlasov. He began questioning me as a witness. Another demand to call the lawyer was ignored. A few minutes later I was handed over to investigator Lavrov. I repeated the words I had already said earlier. After the interrogation, they didn’t let me go. Hope faded again. I, accompanied by an officer in a balaclava, waited in one office, then in another.
Closer to 4 am, I was given a face-to-face with one of the guys. I managed to ask if he was okay, to which he shook his head no. "Did they beat you?" – and an affirmative nod in response. This time, I finally heard what the guys had to say. Our words coincided in many ways, apart from a few points.
Investigator Vlasov appeared in the office and asked me to follow him. He said that he was detaining me and if I would like to use the services of a lawyer. I replied that I have been requesting this since the search in my house. I asked for Emine Avamileva. He phoned her and said that I would have to wait for about an hour. I was taken to the "glass" (an extremely small solitary confinement). There I saw two of the detained guys for the last time. We could not talk.
There, on the chairs, I somehow managed to curl up. I saw a pack of biscuit cookies nearby and forced myself to nibble some. The rumbling in my stomach subsided a little. I even managed to fall asleep. I don’t know for how long.
I was called. They took me to the investigator's office, where I hugged Emine Hanım. After the procedural actions, we managed to talk in private. I briefly told her everything, voiced several requests, asked to tell everyone that everything was all right with me. We discussed what to do next and what to expect. She convinced the investigator that I needed to eat, called my wife, and asked her to prepare and hand over food and clothes.
We convinced the investigator that it makes no sense to continue the investigative actions, namely the interrogation of me as a suspect, because of my fatigue and poor health. The investigator did not object and took Emine Hanım outside, returning with packages of food and my clothes.
The FSB officers accompanying me allowed me to eat when I was already in the transport. Then we went to the temporary detention facility. Some of the things I was not allowed to take. But they let me take food to the cell, on the condition that I eat it before lunch. After all the procedures, around 9:20-9:30, I ended up in the cell. Finally, I managed to wash my face and lie down. But sleep, despite fatigue, did not come. I sat down to write. Not in detail, but at least something.
Sep 06 2021
My first day behind bars is over. Morning checks. Breakfast and new calmer thoughts about what will come next. I think about my family, of course. An insistent desire to talk to Leviza, to cheer her up, to prepare her for a new routine. Something funny. Earlier, when I was thinking about being placed in a cell like this (I doubted they would), I thought: "Well, at least I'll get some sleep!" The fact is after Nial was born (for almost a year now) Leviza and me, as parents should, have not been getting enough sleep. But no. I slept in snatches. It was only towards the morning that I managed, it seems, to fall into a deep sleep. In the morning they warned me that I will be taken to court today. I managed to wash my face and do some exercises, and then they came for me. It was not a convoy but FSB. They drove me to Franko Boulevard.
I was put in the same "glass" (cell 1x2m), in which I stayed at night after my arrest. I could tell that no one was kept here after me. The chairs were the same and the biscuits were as I left them. “Armeyskie” crispbreads. There was water. For some reason, the thing that was missing the most in the temporary detention cell was a mirror. All the time I wanted to look at myself. And also to understand the time. We are too used to checking our life against the clock, but here... Although this is most likely out of habit. Until you get used to the local schedule of checks, breakfasts, etc.
This time, my condition and the light that was turned on allowed me to examine the camera (“the glass”). Rather, to see the messages left by those who were kept here before me. “Illegally imprisoned people are being kept here. My grandmother is one of them. LK” I wonder who was it? Many Crimean Tatars have passed through “the glass”. He, LK, also wrote: "You are my only meaning of life, which keeps me alive and makes me breathe (a drawn heart) Mother "K". “Free political prisoners."
A man was brought into the “glass” nearby. We introduced ourselves. Melit Ağa. 55 years old, from Bağça Eli. I am from Bağçasaray myself, so he is a fellow countryman. They brought him in for drugs. He told me that he had cut some "wild" for himself, and now they are accusing him of distribution. His lawyer came. He was taken away.