“There is a special attitude towards Crimean Tatars: they are always checked regularly, searches are held in their homes,” says Zahir Smedlyayev, Head of the Central Election Committee of Qurultay of Crimean Tatars. Three weeks ago, Simferopol native Rydwan Suleymanov was detained by the Russian FSB for allegedly plotting an attack on the annexed peninsula. “They found someone, arrested him,” explains Smedlyayev. “I don’t know under what pretext…He admitted he was preparing terrorist attacks.”
According to Smedlyayev, Suleymanov’s relatives have not been located yet, but this could be out of fear. More than 2000 individuals have been kidnapped in Crimea, and little progress has been made track down those who have gone missing. “Crimea has become a peninsula of fear…When you start to care, you start getting threats from the security forces.”
Hromadske’s Nataliya Gumenyuk spoke to Zahir Smedlyayev, Head of the Central Election Committee of Qurultay of Crimean Tatars via Skype on August 14th, 2016 in Kyiv.