VIP campaigners step up for the Kremlin’s Ukrainian hostages

Server Mustafayev and other Crimean Tatar political prisoners in court. Photo: graty.me 

Crimea, Political prisoners, Russian Aggression

Article by: Yuliia Rudenko
Edited by: Alya Shandra

Editor’s Note

European politicians, diplomats, and public figures are giving a voice to the voiceless: they are becoming campaigners for Ukrainian political prisoners of the Kremlin. Recently, six such figures, including Francis Fukuyama, have taken charge of Crimean journalists jailed by the Kremlin and will advocate for the hostages in the public fora.

Six Crimean citizen journalists imprisoned for political reasons now have mentors from different states, Ukraine’s Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzheppar wrote in a Facebook post.

In particular, Antonio Stango, a political scientist from Italy, mentors Amet Suleymanov. The expert already published an article on developments in Crimea in la Repubblica, a leading Italian daily newspaper. As the President of the Italian Federation for Human Rights, Mr. Stango circulated a public letter in support of Suleymanov and a formal request on behalf of the organization to release Amet and all other Kremlin’s political prisoners. Antonio Stango moderated a public event at the Italian Senate in support of Suleymanov.

Server Mustafayev is supported by Polish MEP Anna Fotyga. She has launched an advocacy campaign about repressions in Russia-occupied Crimea on her social media accounts.

German politician and member of the Christian Democratic Union political party Ruprecht Polenz has expressed support to Rustem Sheikhaliyev. Mr. Polenz wrote him a letter. Last month, the deputy received a reply letter from the prison.

William Taylor, former ambassador of the United States to Ukraine, took charge of the case of Remzi Bekirov, Grani.ru and Crimean Solidarity journalist.

And Francis Fukuyama, an American political scientist, has become the mentor of Osman Arifmemetov.

Finally, Deputy Marshal of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland Małgorzata Gosiewska has undertaken to support Marlen Asanov.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine established the initiative of advocacy mentorship in the protection of the rights of Crimean Tatar citizen journalists illegally imprisoned by Russia. Individual mentors who provide public support to the prisoners are influential politicians, state officials, human rights defenders, journalists, and writers from abroad.

At the moment, the Ministry is working to engage new mentors. The project’s goal is for all nine Crimean citizen journalists — Server Mustafayev, Timur Ibragimov, Marlen Asanov, Seiran Saliyev, Remzi Berikov, Ruslan Suleimanov, Osman Arifmemetov, Rustem Sheikhaliyev, and Amet Suleimanov — receive public support.

“Publicity is often the only instrument of protection of illegally imprisoned persons from torture,” emphasizes Dzheppar.

Russia’s 2014 unlawful occupation of Ukraine’s Crimea, home to ethnic Muslim Crimean Tatars, has sent a wave of terror across the peninsula. Russian occupation authorities are gagging Crimean dissidents, among whom are religious people, journalists and activists.

Crimean Tatars, who have mounted an overarching peaceful resistance to occupation since 2014, are bearing the brunt of repressions. Russia-controlled kangaroo courts churn out falsified criminal cases against them.

Out of 127 political prisoners in Russia-occupied Crimea, nine are citizen journalists. And all of them need your help.

Help share this video inviting European parliamentarians to take patronage over Crimeans who have been arrested or persecuted by the Russian occupation regime.

The video is a part of the project “Help the Crimean Political Prisoners!” launched by the Crimean Tatar Resource Center and the International Movement for the De-occupation of Crimea and Solidarity with the Crimean Tatar People #LIBERATECRIMEA.

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Edited by: Alya Shandra

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