Martial arts instructor
Part 2 of Art. 205.5 of the Russian Criminal Code (participation in a terrorist organisation, namely the local cell of the Islamic Party of Liberation “Hizb ut-Tahrir”)
October 12, 2016
from 10 to 20 years in prison
days in custody
Teymur and Uzair Abdullaev are two brothers who were born in Baku in a family of Azerbaijani-Crimean Tatar origin. After having moved to Crimea, they both studied law and became Ukrainian citizens. They have shared a passion for martial arts since their childhood and won Ukrainian and European championships in taekwondo in various weight categories. In the past few years, they have trained young Crimeans of different nationalities in the gymnasium they opened. Uzair is 45, he is married and has four children.
The two brothers were arrested together with three other Crimean Tatars by the Russian occupation authorities on 12 October 2016. Searches were carried out in the village of Strogonovka, in Simferopol region. During the search Uzair Abdullaev was not allowed to contact his lawyer. The legal documents authorising the search were not presented to him. According to his wife Fera Abdullaeva, security forces were looking for weapons and narcotics but as they weren’t able to find any of these, they seized Islamic literature instead. Since the detention Uzair Abdullaev is being under arrest in the pre-detention center in Simferopol (SIZO-1).
The names of five arrested Crimean Tatars were put on the list of “terrorists and extremists” by the Russian financial monitoring service although no verdict has been pronounced in their case yet. This is a clear violation of the principle of the presumption of innocence, the consequence of which is a ban on any type of financial operation.
In February 2018, Fera Abdullaeva has also had an administrative protocol initiated against her for having supposedly “failed to comply with the order of the bailiff.” The bailiff forbid Fera from entering the courtroom where the case of her husband was considered, and demanded she leave the court building. Fera did not want to leave the court building, as she is entitled to present in the building. That brings to three the number of members of the Abdullaev family who are being prosecuted at the same time.
Hizb ut-Tahrir is considered in Russia a “terrorist” organization according to the 2003 decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation despite the lack of evidence concerning its involvement in preparation or perpetration of terrorist acts. It is a transnational movement that presents itself as non-violent and that is considered legal in Ukraine and tolerated in other countries.
Tortures and pressure
Uzair Abdullaev was not provided appropriate medical treatment in prison, which endangered his life. In March 2018, he underwent emergency surgery from an infection. However, due to absence of the medical assistance in the prison, one month later in April 2018 he had high temperature and severe pain, his left leg was being swollen until his knee. According to his mother, these signs could indicate blood infection. It is only after his family and lawyers insisted that he needed urgent adequate medication and members of the “Public monitoring Commission of Crimea” visited him in the SIZO that he was transferred to the medical unit of the Simferopol detention centre.
During a court hearing at the so-called “Supreme Court of Crimea” Uzair Abdullaev reported that he was beaten by the convoy in charge of his transfer from the pre-trial detention centre to FSB’s regional office. He was handcuffed, put on the floor of the police van and hit several times in the stomach and legs.
The fact that his family members are not allowed in the courtroom can also be associated to a type of psychological pressure. In a letter addressed to president Vladimir Putin, Dilyara Abdullaeva (Uzair’s and Teymur’s mother) stated:
“Closed court hearings are a violation of the principle of transparency, which means they [the authorities – Ed] are afraid of the truth. We demand to stop the persecution of Muslims, to stop reprisals against the Crimean Tatars, to release Muslims from prisons.”