Friday, March 21, 2014

Ukraine Crisis: Crimean Tatar Rights Activist Found Dead With Signs of Torture

Crimea Tatar concerns about their fate under Russian occupation have sharpened after a Tatar rights activist was found dead Monday with signs of torture.

Thousands attended the funeral Tuesday of Tatar rights activist Reshat Ametov, 38, the Kyiv Post reports.

Ametov was a father of three, this story said.

Ametov had been missing since he was hauled off from a protest by three men in military uniforms in Simferopol, Crimea, in early March.

His naked body was found Monday, the day after Crimeans voted in a fraud-riddled referendum on whether to quit Ukraine and join Russia.

UPDATE: Videos have appeared on YouTube (see here and here) showing Ametov being detained by three men, reports Ukrainska Pravda in this item.

"Only the Beginning"

"This wasn't an ordinary death," Tatar rights activist Ayder Ismailov is quoted telling the Kyiv Post.

"It was a kind of genocide, an inhuman crime, and we understand that we have to come together and consolidate and be very wary because I'm convinced this is only the beginning," Ismailov said.

Thousands of Russian soldiers without insignia took control of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula in late February after mass protests forced out the country's pro-Moscow president.

"Lawless" Climate in Crimea

Rights groups have since decried the "lawless" climate in Crimea, including detention of journalists and pro-Ukraine activists.

Tatar leaders have said their people fear leaving their homes at night and walking in city centres, while up to 200 Tatar families have fled to Ukraine.

Tatar and Ukrainian officials called for a boycott of the Crimean referendum, calling it illegitimate.

Some Tatars have said they fear a repeat of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin's post-World War II mass deportation of Tatars, in which half their population died.

No comments: