31.6 Statement by Mamade Chobanov

No 31 : 17 May 1974

A statement by Mamade Abdurakhmanovich Chobanov made to UN Secretary General Waldheim (written in September or October 1973)*

Chobanov [1] writes that since he was exiled, aged 20 days, with his parents to the Northern Urals, he has never regained his full rights as a citizen. He recalls the prison conditions of his childhood, the deaths of his father and sister (at age 21) and his mother, who communicated to him her love of her native Crimea.

Following the 20th Party Congress (1956) the Crimean Tatars, by means of an 11-year struggle secured the passing of the decree of 1967. Then, in the spring of 1968, Chobanov travelled to the Crimea. Despite the demand for labour (immigrants were being brought from the Ukraine and Russia), he was everywhere refused work and housing.

“Lieutenant-Colonel Pazin of the police,” writes Chobanov, “stated publicly in the square that the decree had been issued ‘not for you, but for the foreign press so that they do not make a big fuss on your behalf’.” On 26 June 1968 20 Crimean Tatars, including Chobanov, went to the Regional Soviet Executive Committee. The chairman Chemodurov refused to receive them, but they would not leave the waiting-room. A detachment of police, with Regional chief Zakharov in charge, twisted their arms and arrested all 20 of them.

Ten were sent by aeroplane to Central Asia, nine received 15 days in custody, but Chobanov, charged with resisting the police, was convicted with the help of false evidence and sentenced to 3 years. While he was serving this term, his mother and two brothers managed after long suffering to go to the Crimea. In 1971, at the end of his term, Chobanov came to join them and tried for 11 months to obtain the right to live with his family. Then he was again arrested and, a month and a half later, sentenced to a year’s imprisonment in strict-regime camps for residence without a permit. The trial took place secretly, without his relatives’ knowledge, in a police building. The court rejected his application to summon his relatives and some witnesses to the court.

After serving his second term (during which his 32-year old brother died), Chobanov returned to his family and for 3 months has been unable to obtain an internal passport.

Chobanov asks the UN Secretary General to acquaint as many people as possible with the fate of himself and his people and to send a commission to verify the facts reported by him.

NOTES

[1] On Chobanov see CCE 7.