9.2 The trial of ten Crimean Tatars (Tashkent)

No 9 : 31 August 1969

From 1 July to 5 August a session of the Uzbek Supreme Court took place in Tashkent. The Judge was Saifutdinov; the People’s Assessors, Samoilova and Isfandiarov; the Prosecutor, Enkalov; and the defence lawyers, Monakhov, Zaslavsky and Safonov.

The accused were Reshat Bairamov, age 26, a fitter; Aider Bariyev, age 31, a bulldozer-driver, father of two children; Svetlana Ametova, age 28, nurse and mother of a six-year-old son; Munire Khalilova, age 24, a midwife; Riza Umerov, age 49, an electro-welder, father of two; Ruslan Eminov, age 30, a foreman and father of two; Izzet Khairov, age 31, a weights and measures engineer, a member of the Communist Party and father of two children; Rollan Kadiyev, a 32-year-old physicist, father of three; Ridvan Gafarov, age 54, a pensioner and second-category invalid; and Ismail Yazydzhiyev, age 49, father of two children, trained as a teacher, fought in the Great Patriotic War, a bricklayer.

The accused had previously made the following requests:

1.         that correspondents of Pravda, Izvestiya, and the Crimean Tatar paper Lenin bairagi be called to attend the trial;

2.         that the trial be given full press coverage and be broadcast live on television;

3.         that a commission of experts be called to attend the trial, to determine the facts about the questions raised in the documents to which the charges related;

4.         that observers from the Central Committee of the Party and the Soviet government be called to attend the trial;

5.         that the accused be given the necessary literature to prepare for the trial;

6.         that the conditions of their detention in prison be changed: the accused were living in cells overflowing with criminals, and could not make any preparations for their defence;

7.         that they be given the medical help they needed;

8.         that they receive a change of sheets and clothing.

Out of all the requests only the last two had been granted. In protest at the refusal of the prison and judicial authorities to make available the necessary legal and political literature, Rollan Kadiyev had gone on a hunger-strike on 20 June, and he came into court in a condition testifying to this. He called off his strike only when threatened with a separate trial.

The accused declared their objection to the Prosecutor, a man well known from other Crimean Tatar trials, and refused to answer his questions. Rollan Kadiyev declared his objection to the Judge also. The objections were not upheld. The Prosecutor was notable for his ill-mannered behaviour, his disregard for the law, and his lack of respect for the accused as people. The Prosecutor declared that the accused were not political but criminal offenders, and that was why they were being held in the conditions prescribed for criminal offenders. The Prosecutor repeatedly brought pressure to bear on the defence: he told the lawyers how they ought to advise their clients, cut them short, and demanded that the court rebuke them.

During the whole of the proceedings neither the court nor the prosecution raised the question of having the facts which were described in the indictment as libellous fabrications either corroborated or refuted. The prosecution was concerned only with proving the fact that they were manufactured and distributed—while the accused did not deny many of these facts; on the other hand, they completely denied the libellous nature of the documents, and pleaded not guilty.

The Prosecutor demanded three years in camps for Bairamov, Bariyev, Khairov and Kadiyev; eighteen months each for Umerov and Gafarov; a year each for Ametova, Khalilova and Yazydzhiyev; and one year of corrective labour for Eminov. The defence demanded a verdict of not guilty.

The court passed a verdict of guilty, declaring the accused guilty under the articles brought against them, Article 190-1 of the Russian Criminal Code and the equivalent articles [187-1 and 191-4, respectively] from the Ukrainian and Uzbek Criminal Codes, and sentenced them as follows: Reshat Bairamov and Rollan Kadiyev to three years in ordinary-regime camps; Aider Bariyev and Izzet Khairov to eighteen months; and Ridvan Gafarov and Ismail Yazydzhiyev to one year. The court decided that the term spent in pre-trial imprisonment (about ten months) was sufficient for Svetlana Ametova, Munire Khalilova and Riza Umerov. Ruslan Eminov was given six months’ corrective labour. Yazydzhiyev’s term expires in September, Gafarov’s in October.

On 5 August, after the verdict of guilty had been passed, a crowd of about 500 to 700 Crimean Tatars who had gathered outside the courthouse marched in orderly fashion to the Procurator’s office, and then to the Uzbek Communist Party Central Committee building. A sit-in demonstration was organized outside the Procuracy. But two blocks before they reached the Central Committee building, the demonstrators were met by a large force of police, who fell upon them. Some of the demonstrators were dispersed, some detained. After twenty-four hours’ detention in police stations, almost all of them were released, except for four people who were given fifteen days’ imprisonment.