In December 2015 a number of major human rights violations have been reported, with two Crimean Tatars going missing and one victim being tortured and treated inhumanely.
Crimean courts have also started awarding sentences in politically motivated “May 3” and “February 26” cases. Owner of two Crimean wildlife parks, Fairy Tale and Taigan, Oleg Zubkov was given a 3-year suspended sentence and later closed his wildlife parks for visitors as a sign of protest against the actions of Crimean “authorities”. Ukrainian citizen Valentyn Vygovskyi was arrested in Crimea and sentenced to 11 years in prison on charges of spying.
Crimean “authorities” started using searches and seizure of property as sanctions against activists of the blockade of Crimea and people, who support it. For instance, Lenur Islyamov’s property in Crimea and Russia was seized. SimCityTrans, transport company owned by Islyamov’s father, was fined RUB 850 000, while Islyamov himself was accused of diversion.
Yevgeniya Andreyuk, Deputy Coordinator at CrimeaSOS, MA in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights
December 16. Two Crimean Tatar men, Ruslan Ganiev and his friend Arlen, disappeared in Kerch. “Both orthodox Muslims. Ruslan left home in the morning, told his wife that he will visit his parents, no one heard from him since. Tried to ask his friends and found out that his friend Arlen, who was seen in Kerch yesterday, disappeared. Ruslan is known as a very humble and calm person,” said First Deputy Head of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People Nariman Dzhelyal, citing the Head of Kerch regional mejlis.
December 22. Russian FSB officials tortured Crimean Tatar man with electric shocks. According to Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemilev, on December 16, law enforcers illegally detained Enver Krosh, 24-year-old man from Dzhankoy, and handed him to FSB officials, who tried to get a written consent for cooperation from him. Having failed, they tortured Krosh with electricity.
December 7. Armyansk city court found Edem Osmanov, who was charged with assaulting a government official as a part of “May 3” case, guilty. According to First Deputy Head of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People Nariman Dzhelyal, prosecutors asked to imprison Osmanov for two years, but the court decided to give a one-year suspended sentence. A few days later, on December 10, the same court also gave Tair Smedlyaev, another defendant in “May 3” case, a 2-year suspended sentence.
December 11. Bilohirsk Raion Court gave Oleg Zubkov, owner of Crimean wildlife parks Fairy Tale and Taigan, a 3-year suspended sentence with one year of probation. He was found guilty of assaulting his employee. In response Zubkov, who previously was an avid supporter of the annexation, closed the parks for visitors as a sign of protest against false accusations against him.
December 15. Moscow Oblast Court sentenced Valentyn Vygovskii, Ukrainian citizen, who was accused of spying, to 11 years in prison. The trial was closed and state lawyer assigned to Vygovskii said after the trial that she is planning to appeal due to the severity of the verdict, thought previously it was reported that Vygovskii made a deal with the prosecutors.
December 28. The first hearing for “February 26” case started in Simferopol. Defendants are accused of participating in mass unrest during a rally supporting territorial integrity of Ukraine.
December 28. Kyiv Raion Court of Simferopol found Talyat Yunusov guilty of participating in mass unrest on February 26, 2014, and given him a suspended 3.5-year sentence. Yunusov was arrested on March 11, 2015, but was released two months later.
December 25. Kerch city court found Igor Duhanin guilty of “public calls for extremist activities”. According to local prosecutors, Duhanin was giving out leaflets “rousing hatred and enmity towards a certain ethnic group”. He was given a 2.5-year suspended sentence and banned from working for media, teaching and organizing public events.
December 2. FSB officials the house of Ilver Ametov, head of Sudak regional mejlis. “They started searching my house at 8 AM. They refused to let anyone in and probably scared my children. I have no idea, what they were looking for, they refused to comment their actions. I have organized an ethnographic museum at home, municipal authorities wanted to create a museum in the city and for me to give the exhibits to the museum. Maybe they don’t like the museum, I don’t know,” Ametov said.
December 10. Russian law enforcers searched the house of Roman Spiridonov, editor at Qara Deniz Production and former editor at Crimean Tatar TV channel ATR, and claim they found a printed manual on making explosive devices in Spiridonov’s kitchen. Spiridonov denies owning such a manual, while his lawyer Dzhemil Temishev says he was able to witness only part of the search, since he was at a hearing on another case, and did not see that moment.
December 17. Veldar Shukurdzhiev, activist of Ukrainian Cultural Center, was summoned to the Central Raion Court of Simferopol for administrative proceedings. Shukurdzhiev is being prosecuted for an incident in August, when he tried to make a photo with Ukrainian flag in his hands on the central square of Simferopol.
December 23. Russian law enforcers visited relatives of Deputy Head of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People Ilmi Umerov under different pretexts. “Law enforcers visited all my three brothers. Investigative Commission official came to Femi, asked about his son Ibrahim, who works in Kyiv, said that he is the victim in one of annexation-period criminal cases,” wrote Umerov.
December 23. In Simferopol Russian law enforcers searched the house of parents of Father Serhii, a priest of Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate, while his mother was detained for questioning, reports Center for Investigative Journalism, citing Crimean Human Rights Group. Prosecutors said that a criminal case was filed against him on charges of participating in an extremist organization.
December 29. Crimean “Cossacks” and Russian security services officials searched houses of Crimean Tatars in village of Dolynka in Krasnoperekopsk Raion. Cossacks and FSB officials checked nine houses. Officials allegedly searched Crimean Tatars’ houses because earlier someone decorated local bus stops with Ukrainian symbols and painted zebra crossings yellow and blue, the colors of Ukrainian flag.
December 3.Crimean court decided to seize the property of Lenur Islyamov, co-organizer of the blockade of Crimea. “His property was seized to ensure the execution of the sentence,” said Russian Prosecutor General of Crimea Natalia Poklonskaya.
December 4. Russian Head of Crimea Sergey Aksyonov said that Russian court would toughen the punishment for Crimean political prisoners due to Ukraine’s offer to exchange power supply for activists. “I think the court will take into consideration that their colleagues were interceding for these people. We will add this up, the damage done to Crimea, these people will work to compensate that with a blunt saw somewhere on the North Pole — I think they can work it off, 15-20 years will be enough,” he said.
December 4. Russian Prosecutor General’s Office of Crimea fined SimCityTrans RUB 850 000. The transport company belongs to Edem Islyamov, father of co-organizer of the civil blockade of Crimea Lenur Islyamov. According to the prosecutors, there have been numerous infringements by SimCityTrans, including failure to fulfill road safety demands.
December 4. Simferopol authorities cut natural gas supply to houses of Crimean journalist Lilya Budzhurova and former ATR CEO Elzara Islyamova. “Neither Budzhurova, nor Islyamov have anything to do with the blockade, but doest that matter to bureaucrats with perverted imagination? The only thing they can think of is to create problems for people, then solve and brag how much they are doing,” wrote Nariman Dzhelyal, Deputy Head of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People.
December 9. Russian Prosecutor General of Crimea Natalia Poklonskaya said that Russian court seized all the property of Lenur Islyamov, co-organizer of the civil blockade of Crimea. “Land in Yalta and Moscow, houses, hotels. Everything that belonged and was registered on Islyamov, everything was seized by court as a part of a criminal case,” she said.
December 9. Russian law enforcers searched the house of Elzara Islyamova, CEO of Qara Deniz Production and former CEO of Crimean Tatar TV channel ATR, again. The search was conducted as a part of investigation of a criminal case against ATR owner Lenur Islyamov, said Islyamova's lawyer Dzhemil Temyshev.
December 21. Lenur Islyamov, co-organizer of the civil blockade of Crimea, was in absentia accused of an act of sabotage, said Russian Prosecutor General of Crimea Natalia Poklonskaya.
December 24. Unknown individuals tried to set a mosque in village of Zhelyabovka in Nyzhnohirskyi Raion of Crimea on fire. The fire was discovered by a Muslim from Sudak, who came to the mosque for morning salat. According to the investigators, the culprit entered through a window and set the cabinet with Muslim literature and Quran on fire. Fortunately, the fire did not have enough time to spread, so only one corner of the mosque was burned.
December 1. People living in occupied Crimean city of Kerch were left without landline communication. According to Krymtelecom, Crimean communication services provider, landline phones were turned off, because the company needs to resign the contracts with consumers.
December 2. A few dozens of Kerch citizens held a rally to complain that their homes have no electricity and heating for a week already. The generator that was supposed to power their buildings broke down. Representatives of local authorities explained that “it’s not that simple”, since there Crimea is in a state of emergency, persuaded the protesters to leave and promised to send a new generator.
December 8. Russian Head of Crimea Sergey Askyonov said that Crimean officials would no longer register real estate deals signed in Ukraine. “No documents issued by Ukrainian courts or Ukrainian officials. They can go and settle in court. I mean deals signed in Ukraine, not the Crimean ones, these are fine,” said Aksyonov.