On 21 December, Nariman Ametov, a Crimean Tatar activist and the father of three minor children, reported on the FSB’s torture with electric shocks on the Facebook of Crimean Solidarity. “They put some cloths under my ears. I felt they started sticking wires there, felt them on my face… And then came the first discharge. It hurt,” said Mr. Ametov.
The events took place on 17 December in Staryi Krym town, after the FSB had searched Mr. Ametov’s home. On that day, they kidnapped and took the man in an unknown direction. As Mr. Ametov reports, security officers accused the man of sabotage. Allegedly, he, together with the Crimean Tatar leader Nariman Dzhelyal and cousins Aziz and Asan Akhtemov, is accused of being connected to the explosion of gas pipe in Perevalne village.
What happened on 17 December?
At 5:50 am, Russian security officers broke into the home of Nariman Ametov (33 y.o.). Mr. Ametov is an active citizen indifferent to the destiny of Russia’s Crimean Tatar political prisoners. More specifically, he often attends court hearings to monitor violations and partakes in actions in support of the prisoners.
Before the armed search started, the security officers abducted the man.
The Crimean Tatar activist later told Crimean Solidarity, he was subjected to torture.
“I insisted on a lawyer. He [the security officer] said, ‘Oh, a lawyer?’ And here came the first shock. It was painful. Something was happening to my brain, but I endured. The shock lasted for two-three seconds. I bore it and did not speak a word, telling myself, ‘I will brace myself.’ But I realized I would not last long, depending on the intensity of the shocks.”
He went on to share:
“When I received the third shock, my brain just exploded. I did not control anything. I screamed, ‘Alright, I will sit down to the device!’ He replied to that, ‘I’ll be making the decisions,’ and continued striking [me]. I thought I’d never get out.”
The Crimean Tatar activist recalls that later an FSB officer came in and notified the man was not engaged in sabotage. The security services warned Ametov that he should stay quiet about the torture. Otherwise, they would make public the agreement on cooperation with the FSB he signed.
Then, the man was left in the countryside. In the evening, a stranger Mr. Ametov met at the nearby gas station dropped him home.
What are the charges against Mr. Ametov?
According to relatives of the Crimean Tatar activist, the security officers said the man was involved in the explosion of gas pipe in Perevalne.
The alleged explosion took place on 23 August 2021, a day when Kyiv hosted the inaugural summit of the Crimea Platform. It is a first-of-its-kind international initiative for the peninsula’s ultimate de-occupation. The Crimea Platform summit brought together a record 46 foreign delegations.
On September 3-4, the occupation authorities abducted and arrested Mr. Dzhelyal and his cousin Asan Akhtemov on these particular charges. As Refat Chubarov, Head of the Mejlis, says, this was the Kremlin’s revenge for the Crimea Platform.
“Certainly, the real reason for the last searches and detentions appears to be a revenge of the Russian occupants for actions on the international level to exert pressure on Russia with regard to its crimes committed against Ukraine, including for Crimea’s occupation,” he said.
Why is this a political case?
Mykhailo Gonchar, President at Centre for Global Studies “Strategy XXI,” believes the case is manifestly ill-founded. This is because the gas line is not a main but a typical low-pressure gas pipeline of the local gas distribution network. That is, the effects of this “subversive act” would have been almost equal to zero, such as short-term interruption of gas supply without any other damage. In addition, he says that attributing such minor damage of gas line to a ‘diversion of a strategic nature’ testifies that charges were made up speedily and by order of the authorities.
Previously, security officers searched Nariman Ametov’s home on 10 September 2014. Then, they coerced the Crimean Tatar activist into giving necessary testimony and threatened him with a prison term, if he refused to obey. Occupation authorities also pressured Mr. Ametov to take the role of a secret witness. Namely, they wanted him to give incriminating evidence against Crimean Tatars in politically motivated criminal and administrative cases.
Crimean Tatars are indigenous Muslim people of the occupied peninsula. They had put up the primary resistance to Russia’s occupation since 2014. In response, Russian occupation authorities have started arresting and imprisoning them on trumped-up charges.
- Galvanize the support of the non-Muslim population for occupation authorities in Crimea;
- Smear peaceful resistance to the occupation;
- Stifle all other opponents of occupation and send them a clear-cut message that activism will not be tolerated.
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