Crimean Tatar activist still confined in mental hospital



Leading Crimean Tatar representative Ilmi Umerov has not been released from a mental hospital, his lawyer Mark Feygin said.

“Together with Ilmi’s family we came to the hospital. He was due to be released, but the FSB investigator Skripka changed his mind,” Feygin wrote on Twitter on Monday.

Actions taken by the Russian authorities against Umerov are illegal and violate international law, his family said in an appeal issued today:

The appeal was filed on the decision to appoint a psychiatric examination which was not considered. In this way the judgment has not come into force yet. Created in the mental hospital conditions, such as the regular meals absence, unsatisfactory sanitary conditions, qualified medical aid absence, are the threats to Ilmi Umerov’s life and also are the tortures and inhuman treatment. 

In connection with the above, we appeal to the Ukrainian authorities, to International organizations, to Human Rights organizations with the call to activate and consolidate efforts on releasing of Ilmi Umerov. Also, we call for increasing the pressure on Russia with the demand to stop the persecution of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people deputy chairman Ilmi Umerov, to close the criminal case against him and to release him immediately. RTWT

The forced detention of Umerov, the Deputy Chairman of the Crimean Tatar’s Mejlis, in a mental hospital in the annexed Crimea violates international human rights standards, said the European Union. “Taking into consideration serious concerns about his health condition, emergency medical care should be provided to Umerov,” the statement said. Brussels demands Umerov’s immediate release and also re-emphasized the deterioration of human rights in the Crimea and Sevastopol since the annexation by the Russian Federation.

“A serious attack on the rights of Crimean Tatars was carried out as a result of the ban on activities of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, the single highest executive-representative body of the Crimean Tatars, and by labeling it an extremist organization,” the statement noted.

The forced admission to the clinic stunned Umerov’s colleagues and supporters, who say the 59-year-old community leader is anything but mentally unbalanced, RFE/RL adds.

“I have known him for 30 years, I know him well,” Abdureshit Dzhepparov, coordinator of the Crimean Contact Group on Human Rights, told RFE/RL on August 22. “I may not be an expert psychiatrist, but on the eve of his removal to the psychiatric clinic, I know that he was without a doubt in full mental health.”

Umerov’s political persecution and now his forced treatment in a psychiatric clinic are connected exclusively with his views and public statements of his position that Crimea, annexed by Russia in 2014, is an integral part of Ukraine, said his daughter Ayshe Umerova:

My father has several serious illnesses including Parkinson’s disease, hypertonic disease, diabetes. He also recently underwent heart surgery. His forceful detention in a psychiatric clinic is very dangerous, because we are not able to provide him with the proper and necessary food or medical treatment as a diabetic. My father’s health is deteriorating every day and we are very concerned about him. That’s why I request your assistance to call for the mobilization and consolidation of efforts aimed to free Ilmi Umerov and to increase pressure on Russia to immediately stop my father’s prosecution, close the criminal case against him, and immediately release him.

“It’s very revealing that the post-Soviet Putin regime has revived the practice of psychiatric abuse that was used against Vladimir Bukovsky (right) and so many others during communist times,” said Carl Gershman, President of the National Endowment for Democracy, the Washington-based democracy assistance group.

The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly also called for Umerov’s release.

Human Rights Watch also urged Russia to drop separatism charges against Umerov and provide him with necessary medical treatment.

“Russian authorities should stop persecuting people who challenge Russia’s actions in Crimea,” HRW’s Ukraine researcher Tanya Cooper said in the statement released Friday.


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