“I hope to see him, cast a glance at him and hold his hand,” Aliye says with tears in her eyes. Her cancer leaves her, perhaps, several weeks, if not days, of life. “I miss him very much… My only wish is to see my son just for a moment.”
The court in Simferopol has proposed the only option: that the dying woman, who is lying in bed, come to the remand prison to see Akhtem. The authorities’ denial of the meeting is a new phase of moral torture, states Chiygoz’s lawyer Nikolai Polozov. The defense is now preparing to apply to the UN Committee against Torture.
The prisoner’s wife Elmira Ablyalimova says her husband did not harbor illusions about the “humanity” of Russian authorities. However, he pleaded the court to visit his mother even for ten minutes. “Then I’ll come back, and you’ll judge me farther as long as you want,” he assured but to no avail.
Ablyalimova asks the Ukrainian government to “mobilize all the efforts, including those on the international level, so that the Crimeans feel protected and the political prisoners be liberated.”
Watch: Why is the Kremlin taking Ukrainian political hostages? | VIDEO
Akhtem Chiygoz has been in custody since January 2015. He is accused of “organizing mass unrest” near the parliament of Crimea on 26 February 2014, weeks before Russia annexed and unilaterally extended its “jurisdiction” on the Ukrainian peninsula. On that day, a rally in support of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, which was legally organized by the Crimean Tatar Mejlis, gathered in Simferopol. Numerous witnesses have stated on trial that Chiygoz, Mejlis deputy head, was doing his best to prevent clashes with a pro-Russian rally that took place on the same square, and extensive video footage corroborates their testimonies.
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