- part 2 of Art. 163 of the Russian Criminal Code (extortion committed by a group of persons)
- art. 222 of the Criminal code of Russia (illegal storage of weapon and ammunition)
November 23, 2017
3,5 years of suspended sentence and 3 years of probation
days in custody
64-year-old Asan Chapukh was arrested together with three other Crimean Tatar activists on 23 November 2017. On that day he met with Kyazim Ametov, Bekir Dehermendzhy, and 83-year-old veteran of the Crimean Tatar national movement Vedzhie Kashka in the “Medobory” cafe, in the city of Simferopol. Vedzhie Kashka suffered from a heart attack during the security forces operation and died shortly after in an ambulance. The Crimean occupation authorities refused to prosecute those responsible for Vedzhie Kashka’s death.
Searches were also carried out in Chapukh’s home (in the town of Koreiz) where Russian security services reportedly found arms and ammunition as well as narcotics. Ruslan Trubach together with brothers Kurtseit and Eldar Abdullaev were also arrested on that day.
The Abdullaev brothers were released a few hours later. However, Kyazim Ametov, Asan Chapukh, Bekir Dehermendzhy and Ruslan Trubach were put in pre-trial detention, being accused of having allegedly extorted large sums of money from a Turkish citizen, Yusuf Aytan.
Till October 2018 Asan Chapuch was kept in the remand prison in Simferopol. On 10 October 2018, the de facto district court of Simferopol changed pre-trial detention to home arrest.
Born in Uzbekistan, Asan Chapukh settled in the town of Koreiz with his wife and two children. Since his placement in pre-trial detention, Asan Chapukh has suffered from serious health problems. On 6 December 2017, he had a mini stroke leaving his left side of the body paralysed. His daughter also reported that doctors diagnosed him with “hypertensive crisis.”
Nariman Dzhelyal, one of the leaders of the Crimean Tatar community, refutes the version presented by the Russian security forces, explaining that:
“Turkish citizen Yusuf Aytan is a crook, he abused the trust of one famous Crimean Tatar family [that of Vedzhie Kashka] and stole a large amount of money from her. The activists who are being detained knew about this family’s problem and tried to persuade the Turk to give the money back.”
Zair Smedlyaev, head of the Kurultai of the Crimean Tatar People, also considers the arrests of the four as being politically motivated in an attempt to silence them as well as to discredit the Medzhlis by engaging criminal procedures against its alleged members.
There has been no report of direct torture inflicted by the law enforcement representatives on Asan Chapukh. However, keeping him in pre-trial detention despite his poor health condition and a lack of adequate medical treatment puts his life at risk. Despite the urgent need, Asan Chapukh was not provided with necessary medical assistance. On 6 December 2017, he had a mini stroke leaving his left side of the body paralysed. On 15 September 2018 Asan Chapukh went on a hunger strike demanding qualified medical assistance or home arrest. On September 21, he stopped the hunger strike due to the serious deterioration of his health. After release from the pre-trial detention his relatives say that he has completely changed, his health state is complicated. After the release, he was twice hospitalized.
Lawyer Emil Kurbedinov has indeed compared the detention conditions in the pre-trial detention facility to a form of torture:
“We consider pre-trial detention a certain type of pressure exercised on our clients rather than a safeguard against their possible escape. They won’t be able to escape nor to influence anyone under house arrest. But keeping them in the pre-trial detention facility has a fundamentally different aim as it is a terrible overcrowded place infested with fleas, lice, bedbugs. A place where is cold, that lacks water and where all diseases aggravate. All this can account to torture.”