On April 25, Russian security forces conducted another search in the house of the well-known Crimean human rights defender and veteran of the Crimean Tatar national movement, Abdureshyt Dzhepparov. According to available information, phones were immediately taken away from Dzhepparov, his wife and daughter, as a result of which they were unable to call a lawyer. Dzhepparov was detained after the search. His whereabouts and the reason for his detention are currently unknown.
Abdureshyt Dzhepparov devoted almost his entire life to protecting the rights of the Crimean Tatar people, in particular, he fought for the return of the indigenous people to the Motherland after Stalin’s deportation in 1944. Since the beginning of the Russian occupation of Crimea, Dzhepparov actively helped victims of political repression. At the end of 2014, he became the coordinator of the Crimean Contact Group on Human Rights, which tried to facilitate the search for victims of enforced disappearances on the occupied peninsula. Dzhepparov’s human rights activities were highly appreciated at the international level. In particular, in 2020, the human rights defender was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Abdureshyt Dzhepparov and his family are subjected to persecution and trials for their human rights activities, the scale of which is difficult to imagine in the civilized world. On September 27, 2014, unknown persons in black uniform abducted his son Isliam Dzhepparov and nephew Dzhevdet Isliamov, whose fate and whereabouts are still unknown. There is every reason to believe that the abduction of Abdureshyt Dzhepparov’s relatives was organized by the FSB of the russian federation. Dzhepparov was repeatedly detained while crossing the administrative border between the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the Kherson region (details here and here) and was given a warning “about the inadmissibility of violating the law” (details here and here). In addition, in March 2022, there was a search in Abdureshyt Dzhepparov’s house, after which he was placed under administrative arrest for 15 days for allegedly displaying Nazi symbols through a post allegedly posted on his social media page in 2019.
The Ukrainian human rights community considers the detention of Abdureshyt Dzhepparov as part of the systematic and large-scale persecution of Crimean human rights defenders and activists, which has been ongoing since the very beginning of the Russian occupation of the Crimean peninsula.
Torture, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions, imprisonments and other mass violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in Crimea and in other occupied territories of Ukraine became possible, among other things, due to the insufficient reaction of the international community to the russian attempt to annex Crimea and invade Donbas in 2014. In addition, the international community’s practical disregard for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Crimea and Donbas has become a fertile ground for a full-scale war by the russian federation against Ukraine.
In the conditions of the Russian Federation’s many years of ignoring almost all norms of international law, the only way to stop arbitrariness and atrocities in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, the city of Sevastopol, Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk and Luhansk regions is the soonest de-occupation of all territories of Ukraine with the help of available diplomatic, sanction and legal measures, including the right to self-defence provided for in Art. 51 of the UN Charter, and the restoration of Ukrainian authority in these territories. Delaying the necessary assistance to Ukraine may only lead to an uncontrolled increase in the number of victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the occupied territories, as well as increase the sense of impunity of the Russian occupation structures.
In this regard, we call on the governments of foreign countries and international organizations, in particular the participants of the International Crimea Platform to the following actions:
- Express a strong consolidated protest against the detention of Abdureshyt Dzhepparov and demand his immediate and unconditional release;
- Provide comprehensive assistance to the victims of political repression by the Russian occupiers in Crimea and other occupied territories of Ukraine, as well as their families;
- Continue monitoring and documenting human rights violations, war crimes and crimes against humanity in occupied Crimea and including them in regular reports on the human rights situation in Ukraine;
- Provide assistance to the government of Ukraine in the investigation of war crimes, crimes against humanity and gross violations of human rights in the occupied territories;
- Use the mechanism of universal jurisdiction to investigate international crimes in Crimea and mainland Ukraine and prosecute the guilty;
- Strengthen diplomatic, sanction and other pressure on the Russian Federation in order to prevent new atrocities in the occupied Crimea and the mainland Ukraine, release all unlawfully detained Ukrainian citizens, as well as speed up the de-occupation of all territories of Ukraine;
- Maximize the use of the mechanisms of the UN, the Council of Europe, the OSCE, the International Crimea Platform and other international platforms for effective response to human rights violations in the occupied Crimea, assistance to victims of repression and the approach of de-occupation of all territories of Ukraine;
- Increase comprehensive, including military, support for Ukraine with the aim of de-occupation of all territories of Ukraine, including the Crimean Peninsula, as de-occupation is an essential prerequisite for ending mass atrocities and restoring the rule of law.
Diya Human Rights Center
Human Rights Centre ZMINA
Association of Relatives of the Kremlin Political Prisoners
Media Initiative for Human Rights
The Center for Civic Education “Almenda”
Crimean Human Rights Group
Center for Civil Liberties
PLATFORM FOR THE RELEASE OF POLITICAL PRISONERS