39.7 In Defence of Mustafa Dzhemilev

No 39 : 12 March 1976

On 25 December, eight days after the trial in Omsk was postponed because of the judge’s sudden illness (CCE 38.14), the case of Mustafa Dzhemilev was transferred to the Supreme Court of the RSFSR.

Mustafa’s family were informed of this by the Omsk Region Court over the telephone in January, but Supreme Court officials kept on saying for a long time that they knew nothing about the case of M. Dzhemilev (they even said this to defence counsel Shveisky). In the middle of January, when rumours were circulating about Mustafa’s death, his relatives asked to visit him, but in Omsk they were merely given a form stating that he was alive and was in an investigation prison as before.

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P. G. Grigorenko is still trying to have Mustafa’s arrest ended in favour of another form of restraint. On 7 January 1976 he made a second appeal to the RSFSR Procurator (for the first see CCE 38.14). On 30 January P. G. Grigorenko and A. D. Sakharov asked the Supreme Court of the RSFSR to allow them to stand bail for Dzhemilev. They received no answer to this declaration.

On 17 February P. G. Grigorenko sent a declaration to the Chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Court. In it he wrote:

In two days it will be five months since the investigation of M. Dzhemilev’s case ended, but his trial has not yet taken place and there is no way of telling when it will take place. The defendant, meanwhile, is on hunger strike — he has been on hunger-strike for eight months. This endangers his life, even when artificial feeding is used. The enclosed note, which I received from a great specialist on feeding, states this conclusively.

At the end of the declaration he says:

It is quite obvious that M. Dzhemilev is not going to evade the trial, nor can he hinder the investigation, which ended long ago, and he will appear for the trial at the right time. Therefore there is no reason to keep him under arrest and at the same time to endanger his life. His release before the trial would help his relatives to bring him back to health.

I ask you to answer my request with all speed and give a positive reply. Do not force me to bring this case to the notice of the 25th Party Congress, which has enough matters to deal with already. Your authority can decide this question.

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Besides the 950 Crimean Tatars who signed a demand for the release of Mustafa Dzhemilev (CCE 37.1), Mustafa’s parents also received letters with over 1,500 signatures, about 700 of which were on a petition asking for his release on bail.

A group of young Crimean Tatars from the Crimea and neighbouring districts, in a statement sent to A. D. Sakharov and Amnesty International, write: “Mustafa’s tragedy is the tragedy of a whole nation which has been deprived of its homeland, language, history and culture.” The statement was signed by E. Seitvaanov, I. Ibragimov, Seitosman and Seitmustafa Smailov, D. Abdulayeva, S. Yagyaev, M, Useinov, R. Karasheyev, M, Kurtveliev, F. Seitbekirova and M. Aliev.

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The writer on religious affairs, A. E. Krasnov-Levitin, now in emigration, has sent a message to President Sadat of Egypt, to muftis, mullahs and all Muslim believers. He writes, that Mustafa Dzhemilev is “definitely not guilty of anything, for standing up for justice for his own nation, together with the great Russian humanists the writer Alexei Kostyorin, General Grigorenko and Academician Sakharov”. Krasnov-Levitin appeals to them:

Dear Muslim brothers!

I am a Christian believer, but you and I are united by our faith in one God, the God of love and justice, who commands us to help one another and severely chastises us for egoism and indifference. Mustafa is a Moslem believer,.. Can you really abandon him in his misfortune? Will you not help a suffering brother?

Protest to the Soviet government, help him!

If you do not, will the God of battles and Lord of victories not turn away His face from you?

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On 19 February the following telegram was sent to the 25th Congress of the CPSU:

To the Presidium of the CPSU 25th Congress.

Mustafa Dzhemilev, arrested on an obviously false charge, a participant in the Crimean Tatar movement for their return from exile, is now in the ninth month of a hunger-strike in Omsk prison.

The investigation ended five months ago. The trial is being delayed, clearly in the hope that death will result. His family and friends fear for Mustafa’s life. More than once there have been rumours of his death. These rumours have not been disproved. His elderly father has had a serious heart attack; his mother is constantly in tears. Numerous appeals for Mustafa’s release before the trial have gone unanswered. From the point of view of justice, keeping a dying man under lock and key is pointless and inhuman.

At the request of his parents, we ask you to use your influence on the judicial authorities in order to release Mustafa Dzhemilev immediately, either into the care of a guarantor or on bail.

Andrei Sakharov
Pyotr Grigorenko

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Mustafa’s mother and sister [Nasfiye] received a postcard from him in prison, sending them greetings on 8 March [International Women’s Day].

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[See “The trial of Mustafa Dzhemilev”, 20 May 1976, CCE 40.3]