Newsweek, the influential American magazine published an article dedicated to the persecution of the Crimean Tatars by the Russian authorities.

In his publication “In Ukraine, Crimea's Tartars haunted by a second exile” Padraig Reidy informs that following the annexation of Crimea, thousands of Crimean Tatars left the peninsula and moved to mainland Ukraine, mainly to Lviv and Kyiv.

“Official estimates say there are 25,000 internally displaced Crimean Tatars in Ukraine—unofficially, that number could be far higher. For many, there is no distinction between modern Russia and the old Soviet Empire, which inflicted a trauma on the Crimean Tatars from which their society is yet to recover.

In 1944, Lavrenti Beria, the head of Stalin’s secret police, oversaw the deportation of tens of thousands of Crimean Tatars and their dispersal across the central Asian republics of the Soviet Union.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, an estimated 280,000 Tatars returned to Crimea, hoping to rebuild their communities and way of life,” Reidy wrote.

The article also tells about the activities of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatars, which, shortly after the annexation of the peninsula, was recognized as illegal by the Russian authorities and declared an extremist organization.

“Extremism is an increasingly common charge against Crimean Tatar activists, with the Russian authorities keen to exploit anti-Islamist rhetoric, in particular claiming that many Tatars are in fact members of the banned organisation Hizb ut Tahrir. Human Rights Watch reports that the Russian authorities in Crimea have arrested at least 26 people on charges connected with Hizb Ut Tahrir membership since 2015,” the article informs.

The publication cites the Crimea SOS NGO, which reported that in the first half of 2017, there were at least 91 unlawful politically-motivated detentions of Tatars in the region, along with frequent raids on Tatar areas.

The journalist Padraig Reidy, who visited Kyiv, brings the stories from the fate of the Crimean Tatars, who found themselves in the Ukrainian capital following the annexation of Crimea.

Among his characters are Elmira Katakli, human rights defender, Riza Shevkiev, a member of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, the Head of the Crimea Fund public charitable organization, Shevket Zmorka, musician, Shevket Namatullaiev, journalist, Tamila Tasheva, human rights activist, founder of the Crimea SOS public initiative and Eskender Bariiev, member of the Mejlis Crimean Tatar people, chairman of the board of the Crimean Tatar Resource Center.

Earlier, according to the Amnesty International webpage, the international human rights organization announced the collection of signatures under a petition that will be forwarded to the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation aiming to remove charges from Emir-Usein Kuku, Crimean Tatar human rights activist, who can be imprisoned for 25 years. 

Source: Newsweek