31.2 – The Trial of Reshat Dzhemilev [12 April 1973]

<< No 31: 17 May 1974 >>

Tashkent Region Court, 12 April 1973.

Articles 190-1 and 190-3 of the RSFSR Criminal Code and corresponding articles of the criminal code of the Uzbek SSR. Sentence – 3 years in the camps.

On 12 July 1972 a search was made in the flat of R. Dzhemilev[1] in Tashkent, one of the 17 searches carried out that day in Uzbekistan (see this issue, CCE 31.19).

Reshat and his wife Zera were not summoned home from work, but the keys were demanded from their children (eldest, 15 years). When no keys could be found, windows were broken. In the search 47 objects were confiscated: copies of appeals to the government, books and photocopies of books of Soviet publication (excerpts from encyclopaedias, Essays on the Crimea by E. Markov and others), and money. The children were forced to sign the search record.

Dzhemilev, in a statement to the USSR Procurator-General demanded that criminal proceedings be instituted against those who had carried out the search, for breaking the law:

  • nothing amongst the things confiscated from him was prohibited (R. Dzhemilev argues this point in detail);
  • the law permits the involvement of children in investigations only if their parents or teachers are present;
  • lastly, having recorded the confiscation of 65 roubles, they had in fact confiscated 178 roubles.

dzhemilev-reshat-4-webOn 12 October 1972 R. Dzhemilev was arrested. The investigation was conducted by B. Berezovsky.

Not only Crimean Tatars living in Uzbekistan were questioned about the case, but also inhabitants of many other places: Reshat Osmanov (Krasnodar Region), Enver Ametov (Kherson Region [UkSSR]),[2] Veli Semidullayev (Zaporozhe Region [UkSSR]) and others. Berezovsky questioned several people in Moscow, in particular about the participation of Reshat Dzhemilev in the human rights movement (e.g. support for the Action Group’s appeal to the UN in 1969 [CCE 8.10]).

The investigation concluded by bringing charges under Articles 190-1 and 190-3 of the RSFSR Criminal Code (and the corresponding articles of the Uzbek code). These concern the compilation of documents which defame the Soviet system, and a breach of public order, viz. participation in a demonstration on 6 June 1969 in Mayakovsky Square (CCE 8.5), at which Dzhemilev carried a placard reading, “Freedom for General Grigorenko, the friend of the Crimean Tatars”.

The trial began on 12 April, a fact kept secret from the relatives and friends of the accused. Dzhemilev, having refused a barrister, objected to the make-up of the court, and referred to the biased hearings and unjust sentences of the Tashkent Region Court in cases involving Crimean Tatars, The objection was overruled and Dzhemilev refused to give evidence. Many Crimean Tatar witnesses also refused to answer the court’s questions.

In July 1973 the Action Group of Crimean Tatars in Tashkent issued an appeal which described the activities of Dzhemilev and protested against his conviction.

He had participated, it said, in many appeals and protests by the Crimean Tatars, and he had journeyed to Moscow several times as a representative of the people. In June 1967 he was among 20 representatives of the Crimean Tatars who were received by Andropov, Rudenko, Shchelokov and Georgadze [respectively, KGB chairman, Procurator-General, Minister of Internal Affairs, and secretary to the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet].

The appeal reports that Reshat Dzhemilev openly accused Georgadze of lying on that occasion and demanded an immediate solution of the Crimean Tatar question. In the autumn of 1967 R. Dzhemilev was arrested and charged as one of the organizers of the demonstration by many thousands of people in Tashkent on 27 August 1967. In December that year he was sentenced to imprisonment for one year of corrective labour.

The appeal characterizes R. Dzhemilev as

“one of those activists of the national movement who have understood that the solution of the national question of the Crimean Tatars is inseparably linked with the problem of democracy in the country, and that the tragedy of the Crimean Tatar people is not only a result of the evil deeds of individual personalities like Stalin, Beria and Voroshilov, but a product of the totalitarian system as a whole”.

In this connection mention is made of R. Dzhemilev’s participation in protests against the imprisonment of the demonstrators of 25 August 1968 and of Yakhimovich and Grigorenko, and in appeals to the conference of communist parties, and also of his support for the Action Group appeal to the UN in May 1969.

The present appeal reports the current [Siberian] address of Dzhemilev (Krasnoyarsk Region, Yemelyanovsk district, post office Elita, postbox 288/7, brigade 3) and urges help for his wife Zera Dzhemileva and her three children aged from five to 15 (her address is Tashkent, Besh-Agach Street, 15 Shark Close).

The appeal contains a request that Dzhemilev’s statements and articles be duplicated and circulated, as well as photographs of the demonstration of 6 June 1969, and concludes with the words: “The people must know its loyal sons”.

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NOTES

[1] Refat Dzhemilev was a distant and older relative of Mustafa Dzhemilev. For more on his activities and statements: CCE 5.//, CCE 8.5, CCE 9.//, CCE 27.//, CCE 32.//.

[2] On Osmanov see CCE 8.5; on Ametov CCE 8.5 and CCE 32.//.