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A wave of searches in annexed Crimea

A wave of searches in annexed Crimea
Mustafa Chaush

Simferopol – Mass searches are being carried out in occupied Crimea. The objects of the Russian policemen’s close attention are Crimean-Tatar activists and citizens of Ukraine living on the territory of the peninsula. Mejlis representatives and experts think that the Russian government is trying to intimate those whose civil position is different from the opinions of official Kremlin this way. 

They usually come to search in the morning. Armed people in camouflage and masks on their face burst into the homes of regular citizens. The Ablayev family in Nyzhnyohirsky district got a knock on the door at seven in the morning. They tried to take down the door, and soon after the Russian spetsnaz servicemen climbed over the fence. At that moment only the mistress of the house and her small child were in the yard.

“He pointed the gun at me and said: to the wall, quick. I am a Muslim, my head is uncovered, my child is crying, my child was scared, everyone in the house was scared,” says Susanna Ablayeva, citizen of Nyzhnyahirsky district in Crimea.

They were looking for weapons and explosives in her home for two hours, and when they failed to find any, their attention was drawn to religious literature. In the end they confiscated on the of the books to check whether it is on the list of banned literature which was recently enacted on the territory of the annexed peninsula. There have been over a dozen such searches in the past week.

Mejlis: they are trying to intimidate the Crimean Tatars

Depury head of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people Nariman Jelial considers such actions on part of the Russian law enforcement an attempt to intimidate the Crimean Tatars with an active civil position. As almost everyone who has been subject to searches in the recent days are activists or heads of regional Mejlis.

“To my mind, a certain intimidation of Crimean Tatars, Crimean Muslims, is underway. This is done with the methods that are reminiscent of May 18, 1994, when early in the morning armed people burst into people homes, where people, children were sleeping and turned everything upside down. I am convinced that if the law enforcement bodies have grounds to search for weapons, prohibited items, this can all be done in a more civilized manner,” says the deputy chairman of the Mejlis Nariman Jelial.

Blogger: the searches have to do with the elections in Crimea

Designer Liza Bohutska came quite popular as a blogger since the annexation of Crimea, when she started criticizing the actions of the Russian government on Facebook. On Monday, her home was also searched, all computers and digital memory storage devices were confiscated, and she herself was taken to the precinct for several hours.

“After three hours they started asking me about my publications on Facebook. That they are allegedly extremist. That my neighbors complained about me, those who don’t like my attitude towards Russia,” says Bohutska.

To her mind, everything happened because of the elections to the local government of Crimea, which are to be held on September 14 according to Russian laws for the first time.

Political expert Volodymyr Yegorov has a different opinion. As he told Radio Liberty, the elections in Crimea will not have any choices, as everyone knows who is to win. Pressure on part of the law enforcement in the shape of searches, to his mind, are an attempt to fight those who think differently and this is why famous people or public opinion leaders are chosen as targets.


Source: Radio Liberty

Translated by Mariya Shcherbinina

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