Chubarov: FSB Threatens to Detain Mejlis Members
The FSB and the Investigative Committee are putting pressure on Mejlis members in choosing their Chairman.
This was announced by the leader of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people Refat Chubarov at a press conference in Kiyv, reports the correspondent of the Human Rights Information Center.
“FSB and Investigative Committee employees summon members of the Mejlis. They put forth concrete ultimatums regarding their behavior in the Mejlis and their vote for one candidate or another. One Mejlis member told me what they say: ‘You can either join Mr. Chubarov, who is banned from entry, and we will toss you out of Crimea while your relatives stay behind, or you can join Ahtem Chiygoz in prison, or you can behave the way we ask,’” said Chubarov.
He also noted that it is impossible to gather those who oppose the occupation for a Kurultay (traditional council) while that occupation is ongoing.
“The idea of gathering people in the occupied Crimea to discuss, in an open democratic manner, how they will resist the occupiers is some sort of surrealism. We considered convening Kurultay in Turkey or in Romania, where we have large diasporas, but many people have concerns that they would not be allowed back in Crimea. They would merely face a repeat of the fate of Mr. Mustafa Dzhemilev, Sinaver Kadyrov, or myself. So, we abandoned the idea of an urgent convening of a Kurultay,” said Chubarov.
According to Chubarov, in Crimea there has been a persecution of activists on two cases.
“The first case occurred on May 3rd, 2014, when thousands of people met Mr. Mustafa Dzhemilev on the administrative border. It ended with more than 2,500 people breaking through. The occupiers consider it the state border, and more than 130 people have been punished for these acts by the courts via massive fines. Criminal cases are opened against seven or eight people. Russian human rights activists call this the ‘Crimean Bolotnaya Square case.’ The second was a mass rally near the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea building by opponents and supporters of the integrity of Ukraine. During the demonstration, two elderly people died in the crush of the crowd according to the Crimean government,” explains Chubarov.
Within this case, the occupation authorities arrested Ahtem Chiygoz , the Acting Chairman of the Mejlis. He faces up to ten years in prison under the Russian Criminal Code. Chubarov notes that the government has interviewed around 150 people, and each of them can be charged under this case.
Chubarov says that an unofficial visit to Crimea by a Turkish working group is being organized. It will consist of former politicians, diplomats, and public figures and will study the situation in Crimea and the state of the rights of the Crimean Tatars in order to prepare a report for the Ukrainian government.
This trip was discussed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting on December 1st, 2014 in Istanbul.
“The Turkish side asked about our opinion on this visit. Our position is this: the visit can only be through Kyiv. The meeting must be with the leadership of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, then with Ukrainian officials, and only then go to Moscow and from Moscow to Crimea. This visit can only be by this route. Our other condition is that, in the pre-approved protocol, there will be guaranteed meetings with all elements of Crimean Tatar society. This is so that it will not just be a meeting with those Crimean Tatars who started working for the Russian authorities. Russia is pushing the Turks to make this visit as soon as possible. They will then portray it as Turkey’s recognition of the legitimacy of occupation. Andrey Karlov, the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, said in an interview that the results of this visit will finally open the eyes of the world, which today makes conclusions about Crimean Tatar human rights only through the prism of Chubarov and Dzhemilev,” says Chubarov.
Chubarov is convinced that the restoration of the rights of Crimeans is possible only through economic sanctions.
“We spoke yesterday with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Latvia (Laimdota Straujuma – Ed.). I addressed her as the head of the state that currently holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union. I said that there cannot be further discussions on whether or not to help Ukraine. We need weapons and loans so that we can better protect ourselves. But, if you are going to stall and have all these discussions, at least stop debating whether to increase sanctions against Russia or not. Some Russian liberals believe that the path of sanctions is not the best, but it is the only way to open the eyes of the Russian public to the activities of their government. We will return Crimea, and not only that, if we weaken Russia,” believes Chubarov.