10:52 15.12.2017

Medical aid not provided to political prisoner Degermendzhi in occupied Crimea

Crimean Tatar activist Bekir Degermendzhi, who was detained by the Russian occupation authorities in Crimea late in November 2017 as part of the Vedzhie Kashka case, was urgently hospitalized from Simferopol's detention center in the early hours of Thursday, December 14, and is in a very serious condition in hospital, the Crimean Human Rights Group has reported.

"On December 14, 2017, at three o'clock in the morning, 57-year-old Crimean Tatar activist Bekir Degermendzhi, who is held in Simferopol's detention center on a trumped-up case of alleged extortion, was taken to intensive care. Bekir Degermendzhi has a third disability group and suffers from bronchial asthma," the group said in a statement on December 14.

The report notes that Degermendzhi is in extremely grave condition, he is in a medication sleep on artificial ventilation, and he has pulmonary edema and heart failure.

According to his relatives and lawyer, the prisoner stays in city hospital No. 7 in Simferopol, where he is unconsciously kept handcuffed. Degermendzhi's wife and lawyer are not admitted to the ward, three police officers are at the ward, and a large number of so-called law enforcers are outside the hospital itself.

"Over the past five days, Bekir Degermendzhi could not sleep because of the aggravation of asthma. His lawyer demanded hospitalization and medical treatment, but the de facto court rejected the petition of the defense lawyer. On December 6, 2017, the de facto court rejected a cassation appeal against the chosen measure of restraint," the report says.

It notes that during the court session Degermendzhi fell unwell, an ambulance was called, but at the same time the arrest was upheld. During the session, the activist was wearing an oxygen mask.

At the same time, Edem Semedliayev and Aider Azamatov, the lawyers for suspects in the Vedzhie Kashka case, Degermendzhi and Asan Chapukh, filed complaints to the Kremlin's temporarily controlled Crimean prosecutor's office over the inactivity of the prison staff.

The report posted on the website Crimea.Realities on Thursday, December 14, notes that lawyers plan to apply to the ombudsmen of Crimea and Russia, as well as to file petitions for urgent measures in accordance with Rule 39 of the Rules of Court of the European Court of Human Rights.

The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv also expressed its position regarding Degermendzhi.

"Russian occupation authorities must ensure medical care for Bekir Degermendzhi, another Crimean political prisoner," the embassy reported on Twitter on Thursday.

On November 23, Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mariana Betsa reported searches on the homes of representatives of the Crimean Tatar community and detentions in the Russian-occupied Crimean peninsula.

According to the CrimeaSOS human rights organization, searches were carried out in Simferopol, Simeiz, Kholodivka, Hrushivka, Yuzhne. Ruslan Trubach, Bekir Degermendzhi, Asan Chapukh, Kazim Ametov, Kurtseit Abdullayev, Kazim Ametov and Vedzhie Kashka were detained.

According to the leader of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, Bloc of Petro Poroshenko MP Refat Chubarov, Kashka was hospitalized and subsequently died.

"Bad news came from Crimea regarding the death of a veteran of the Crimean Tatar national movement, 82-year-old legendary Vedzhie Abla Kashka, who fell unwell during the search of her house. Abla Kashka died in an ambulance," he wrote on his Facebook page.

According to Chubarov, the analysis of incoming information indicates a large-scale special operation being conducted by the Russian Federal Security Service in Crimea with the goal of making new arrests of activists of the national movement and discrediting the Mejlis.

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