son of the ex-head of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis
Articles 226 and 222 of the Russian Criminal Code (illegal acquisition and possession of firearms)
Illegally transported from occupied Crimea to Russia’s Krasnodar Krai in September 2014
November 25, 2016
3.5 years in general regime prison
Hayser Dzhemilev is the youngest son of Mustafa Dzhemilev, the national leader of the Crimean Tatars.
Hayser did commit a criminal offense, but his subsequent persecution by Russia’s enforcement agencies was politically biased and linked to his father’s activity. Mustafa Dzhemilev, ex-Chairman of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis and currently Ukraine’s Presidential Envoy for Crimean Tatar Affairs, openly opposes Russia’s occupation of Crimea.
On May 27, 2013, Hayser Dzhemilev fired his father’s gun, which resulted in the killing of 43-year-old Fevzi Edemov. Fevzi worked at Dzhemilev’s house and was deemed a friend of the family.
Hayser’s relatives say that he suffered from mental disorder, which probably led to the tragedy. However, a pretrial psychiatric expertise acknowledged him as a mentally healthy person.
The hearing in Hayser Dzhemilev’s case started in the Crimean town of Bakhchysarai in November 2013. The prosecutor charged him with murder, theft, illegal carrying and possession of firearms. Hayser admitted his guilt only under the last charge (illegal possession of a gun). He claimed that he shot Fevzi Edemov by mistake: “On the day Fevzi came to us again, I had a rifle. I helped him with some domestic work, then watched TV and later started loading and unloading the rifle. I was looking at Fevzi through the scope sight thinking that the rifle was on safe. When I focused on him, the windowpane beside me moved sharply and caused the shoot…”
On April 10, 2015, the Dniprovsky District Court of Kyiv found Hayser Dzhemilev guilty of illegal possession of a gun and ammunition as well as of causing death by negligence. The court sentenced him to three years and eight months in prison. The sentence came into force in May 2015.
Hayser was kept in the Bakhchysarai remand prison in Crimea which after the Russian occupation was subjected to the penitentiary authorities of the occupying state. In April 2014, the investigation into the Dzhemilev case has started anew, this time ostensibly according to the perverse interpretation of the Russian legislation. Contrary to the decision of the Ukrainian court, Russian ‘judges’ prolonged Hayser’s detention. Thereby they violated the Russian Criminal Code, which states that any crime committed in a foreign territory by a foreign national against another foreigner cannot be prosecuted under Russian law.
In September 2014, Hayser was illegally transferred to Krasnodarskiy Krai of the Russian Federation. On February 17, 2015, a regional court in Krasnodar started a hearing in his case. According to the case file, Dzhemilev was incriminated theft, illegal possession, carrying of firearms and ammunition, and premediated murder, which resulted from hooliganism.
Finally, Dzhemilev got a five-year term of imprisonment on the charge of causing death by negligence, theft and illegal possession of weapons. On September 2, 2015, the jurors of the Russian Supreme Court had reduced the sentence from 5 to 3.5 years. In regard to the charge of murder by negligence, the court ruled that the limitation period had expired and Dzhemilev was to be relieved from the punishment for this offense. In addition, the court mitigated the sentence for theft and illegal possession of weapons.
On May 21, 2015, in accordance with the 1957 European Convention on Extradition, the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice submitted an official request to the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office regarding the return of Dzhemilev Jr. to Ukraine to serve a sentence passed by the court in Kyiv. This request was left unanswered.
Having served his term, Hayser was discharged from an Astrakhan colony on November 25, 2016, and left for mainland Ukraine.
Unlawful nature of prosecution
Hayser Dzhemilev remains a Ukrainian national despite Russian security officers attempted to make him renounce his citizenship. He was convicted by a Ukrainian court for a murder of his fellow Ukrainian citizen. The accident occurred in Crimea well before the Russian Anschluss when its belonging to Ukraine was not contested by Russia.
According to the Russian Criminal Code (Part Three of Article 12), an offense committed outside Russia by a national of another state cannot be prosecuted under the Russian law unless “the crime was directed against the interests of the Russian Federation or a citizen of the Russian Federation.” Given that Hayser’s crime did not touch upon the rights of any Russian citizen or interests of the Russian state, his case could not fall under the authority of the Russian judiciary system. This means that his retrial was illegal.
In July 2014, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Russia had to “ensure the freedom of Dzhemilev’s son”. The Russian side ignored the ECHR decision, thereby violating its international obligations.
In the second half of 2015, Hayser was transferred to penal colony #10 in Astrakhan Oblast, Southwest Russia. This shift contradicts the Russian law, which requires that the convict must serve the sentence close either to the place of residence (that is, in Crimea in Hayser’s case) or to the place where the judgment was passed (i.e., in Krasnodarskiy Krai).