The Trial of Mustafa Dzhemilev, 14-15 April 1976 (40.3)

<<No 40 : 20 May 1976>>

MUSTAFA DZHEMILEV (Abduldzhemil) was born in November 1943. During the deportation of May 1944, his family – his mother and her four children (his father was at the front) – ended up in Uzbekistan.

In 1966 Mustafa was expelled from the third-year course of the Tashkent Institute of Irrigation because of his participation in the national movement; he was called up into the army. He refused to do military service as, he declared, he did not possess the rights of a citizen. He was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment.

After coming out of a camp, Dzhemilev continued to take an active part in the Crimean Tatar movement. He also became involved in the human rights movement, and in May 1969 became a member of the Action Group for the Defence of Human Rights in the USSR (CCE 8.10, 9.10). In September 1969 he was arrested (CCE 10.4). In January 1970 he was tried with Ilya Gabai in Tashkent, under Article 190-1 (CCE 12.3) and sentenced to 3 years’ imprisonment. A book about this trial, Six Days, has has recently appeared in samizdat. [2]


On 13 May 1974, just before the thirtieth anniversary of the Deportation, Dzhemilev  was arrested on a false charge and detained for 15 days. He went on hunger-strike and was released early; a month later, however, he was called up for military exercises. As he was still ill, he refused, and on 22 July he was arrested and sentenced to one year in a labour camp (CCE 32.9).

In Omsk, Camp UKh 16/3, a new case was prepared against Mustafa under Article 190-1, and three days before he was due to be released he was again arrested (CCE 37.1).

In September the pre-trial investigation ended and the case was passed to the Omsk Region Court. In October the case was sent for additional investigation. The trial was fixed for 17 December, but on that day it was put off because the judge “had suddenly fallen ill” (CCE 38.14).

Another delay

From 25 December 1975 to 25 February 1976 the case was investigated at the RSFSR Supreme Court [in Moscow]. Mustafa’s relatives received official notice of this fact only in March, in a reply from the Ministry of Justice to their declaration addressed to the 25th Congress of the CPSU.

Earlier the Supreme Court denied that it was dealing with the case (CCE 39.7). In Omsk Judge Anosov confirmed the fact by word of mouth. He refused to give any details about the transfer of the case (“so that you can’t quote me to Moscow”, as he said to Mustafa’s sister). The letter from the Ministry of Justice stated that the Omsk Region Court had been instructed to deal with the case as soon as possible.

Nevertheless, the trial was fixed only for 6 April 1976 and then postponed again.

On the day before the trial, the judge told Dzhemilev’s brother and sister that the trial would take place, and they summoned their sick mother. On the morning of 6 April the Sakharovs, who had arrived for the trial, handed in a declaration to Judge Anosov, asking to be allowed into the courtroom. Anosov replied that the case would be heard in camera, in accordance with a decision of the court’s organisation session on 4 December 1975. He even leafed through the case evidence and found the relevant document, but did not show it to them. “The absence of the defence counsel worries me,” said Anosov, “as we cannot begin without him.” (Defence counsel [Vladimir] Shveisky had remained in Moscow: the previous evening someone had telephoned and told him that the trial was being postponed.)


Mustafa’s relatives were very upset by this new delay: Mustafa was now in the tenth month of a hunger-strike. Anosov proposed that they should either summon Shveisky or engage a new lawyer in Omsk. Half an hour later, when they had rung Moscow and ascertained that Shveisky would be leaving immediately, the situation in court changed. A report came from the prison that a state of quarantine had been declared there. Anosov held a lightning-quick court session:

“All stand, the court is in session. Because of the state of quarantine the defendant cannot be brought to the courtroom. The hearing is therefore postponed.”

Those who had come to attend the trial demanded an explanation, but they were surrounded by vigilantes [druzhinniki] and policemen: “Leave the office and the entrance-hall, don’t obstruct people who are working.” The relatives were similarly admonished by a lawyer who had come out of Anosov’s office – the applicant for the “vacant” post of Dzhemilev’s lawyer. Anosov categorically forbade Dzhemilev’s relatives to visit Mustafa and allowed only written conversations with him.

Prison Governor Surov chatted benevolently with Mustafa’s relatives while they were waiting for an answer from him. Dzhemilev was still strong, he assured them: “I allow him to go to the library by himself and he climbs right up to the top shelves.” Surov explained why a sanitary commission had declared a state of quarantine that morning. On 1 April the drains in the building had begun to leak and had seeped into two or three of the cells, and on analysis some bacilli had been discovered.

Mustafa wrote:

My state of health is quite reasonable – I can still stand on my own feet, I can speak and I have not, I think, lost my wits. That is obviously the reason why the trial is being endlessly postponed. The prison governor told me yesterday that the trial had been put off until 14 April – he had been told this by the court before the quarantine was declared, so the quarantine has nothing to do with it.

Further on he added:

I send my warmest greetings to Andrei Dmitrievich [Sakharov], Yelena Georgievna [Bonner], Pyotr Grigorevich and Zinaida Mikhailovna [Grigorenko]  and to all my friends and dear ones. Your interest in me and your efforts on my behalf fill my heart with gratitude and give me the strength to hold out to the end.

(On the same day the trial of Andrei Tverdokhlebov in Moscow was postponed. The drains in Lefortovo Prison were in order, but the judge fell ill – see this issue, CCE 40.2.)

On 7 April his lawyer visited Dzhemilev. Quarantine was observed – they both had to wear white overalls.

On 9 April the lawyer received a telegram from the Omsk Region Court: the case would be heard on 14 April and be held in open court.

On that day Mustafa’s friends and relatives, 16 persons altogether, again travelled to Omsk.

The trial (14-15 April 1976)

The presiding judge at the trial was Yu. I. Anosov (chairman of the Omsk Region Court); the People’s Assessors were Kolobov and Mechnik; the prosecutor was procurator Kalutsky; and the defence was conducted by the lawyer Shveisky.

The courtroom had been filled beforehand by people who had been let in through the back door.

In the ante-room Mustafa’s friends and relatives were waiting for the trial to begin. At 10 o’clock they were told that there was no room left in the courtroom and that only close relatives would be admitted: Mahfure Mustafayeva, Mustafa’s mother, his sister Nasfie Khairova, and his brothers Asan and Anafi Dzhemilev. The 12 people left outside in the corridor continued to insist on their right to attend a trial held in open court.

A policeman and some men in civilian clothes began to push them away forcibly, laying hands on them. Then Sakharov hit the policeman and his wife Yelena Bonner slapped one of the men in plainclothes (he turned out to be the court superintendent). The Sakharovs were taken to a police station. A. Sakharov apologized in writing to the policeman, while pointing out the illegality of the entire conduct of the trial and, in particular, of the behaviour of the police.

(Out in the street one of the individuals in plainclothes told the Crimean Tatars: “We’ll talk to you in a different way tonight – with a long knife.”)


At the beginning of the hearing the defence counsel made three requests:

(1) That 12 more witnesses should be called, including certain correspondents whose letters to Dzhemilev had been included in the case evidence: the letters were passed by the camp censorship but later confiscated from Mustafa. Certain witnesses must be called because of the unreliability of the evidence given by Dvoryansky, the “chief witness for the prosecution”.

(2) That Dvoryansky’s personal file should be sent for from the labour colony.

(3) That the investigation department of the procurator’s office should be asked to provide the pages missing from the criminal case. This request had been made earlier to the court, but the procurator’s office had then replied that the pages removed had concerned only Dvoryansky.

Dzhemilev also asked for 15 additional witnesses to be called, including some of those on the defence counsel’s list. He also asked the court to explain to him if the trial was to be held in camera:

“If this hearing is in open court, then why was the courtroom filled beforehand and my relatives and friends left out on the street?”

The judge replied that the trial was in open court, that he did not know who had got into the courtroom and how; if anyone had not been allowed in, it was only because there were no places left. Nasfie Khairova said: “We had to show our passports to get in, and then only four of us were allowed in.”

“That is none of my business,” said the judge, “and I shall send you out if you disagree with me and make a noise.”

The charges against Dzhemilev were, first, that while serving a sentence in Corrective Labour Colony UKh 16/3 in the city of Omsk, he spread slanderous fabrications in conversations with the prisoner Dvoryansky: Dzhemilev alleged that the Crimean Tatar national problem had not been solved and that Crimean Tatars did not have equal rights in the USSR. Secondly, Dzhemilev was charged with writing and distributing (or preparing for distribution) the following defamatory  documents:

  • A letter to an acquaintance, Ilmi Ametov, criticizing an article [by Basyr Gafarov] about Crimean Tatars in a journal. The letter had been passed by the camp censorship.
  • A draft “Declaration of Principles of the Crimean Tatar movement”: texts of the “Declaration” in Russian (written in Arabic letters), in Tatar and in English figured in the indictment as three separate documents.
  • Letters and postcards received by Dzhemilev in the camp were also used as evidence. The indictment perceived in these a nationalist spirit undoubtedly inspired by the influence of the recipient.


At first his relatives could see Mustafa quite well. He was pale from illness, his neck bandaged because of boils, and it was painful for him to speak and even to breathe. Sometimes he stood up.

During a short intermission a broad-shouldered policeman stood in front of Mustafa. His mother and brothers asked the guard to move a little. In reply there were protests from the annoyed “public” and the captain in charge of the guard said:

“I am responsible for guarding him; let the guard go on standing there. And you keep quiet, or when the panel [of judges] return we’ll send you out.”


The court decided to begin by questioning the defendant, but Dzhemilev refused to give evidence first.

Vladimir Dvoryansky was called. He is 26 years old and had received a 10-year sentence in (1973) for murdering a man who, during the course of a fight, had insulted his sister. Dvoryansky had been in a camp near Barnaul. There he had written complaints about being badly treated and had asked to be transferred to Uzbekistan, because of his health (he had lost one lung).

As a result, he was sent to Omsk. There he was assigned to a “lower” disability group, thus making his working conditions more difficult; he complained and was again put in the punishment cell. All this was mentioned in his written “Testimony”, which he later sent out of the camp, and added to the case evidence by the defence counsel. [4] In his “Testimony” Dvoryansky described in detail how KGB officers and camp officials had tried to recruit him to give false evidence against Dzhemilev (CCE 37.1).

At the trial Dvoryansky immediately renounced the evidence he had given during the pre-trial investigation, stating that it had been obtained by means of threats. Under pressure from the investigator and the officials working for the security organs he had signed prepared texts, while he had written statements “in his own hand”, dated 15 and 16 May, when he was already in the punishment cell (the last statement was, in fact, the official pretext for bringing a criminal case against Dzhemilev).

“But you were put in the punishment cell on 16 May, yet your first statement is dated 15 May,” said the judge. Dvoryansky repeated that he had written the required statement in the punishment cell.

During a three-hour interrogation, the judge and the prosecutor tried in vain to persuade Dvoryansky to return to his former testimony.

“I am now speaking freely,” said Dvoryansky at the trial, “then there were five men around me, three in civilian dress and two from the camp. They showed me photographs of my father and daughter, saying ‘You have a long sentence; you might never see them again’. I was in their hands.”

“And do you now imagine that you have escaped from their grip?” said the judge. “You’ll get two years for giving false evidence in court.”

Dvoryansky replied, “I am now telling the truth, but I gave false evidence under pressure.”

“But surely there was a supervisory procurator in the camp?” asked the procurator. ‘Did you complain to him that you were being blackmailed?”

“The supervisory procurator told me,” said Dvoryansky, “that if I was thinking of renouncing my evidence, I would do better to commit suicide.” Dvoryansky said that he himself had described the conversation of 11 February in his “Testimony” and had sent it out of the camp (here Dvoryansky was interrupted by Dzhemilev, who said it was he who had sent out his “Testimony”). Dvoryansky stated that he had been influenced not only by threats but also by promises: they had promised to transfer him to Uzbekistan, to release him early, to give him a job at a university.

After being questioned, Dvoryansky was led away, although defence counsel asked that he be allowed to stay in the courtroom.


Sokolov, the next witness to be questioned, said that he had not known Dzhemilev well, but that he had been well acquainted with Dvoryansky since Barnaul. There Dvoryansky had not been interested in politics and did not read anything.

As soon as he came to know Dzhemilev, however, he began to read a lot and was writing something: Dvoryansky was summarizing Marx, Engels and Lenin “in an anti-Soviet spirit”. (Possibly there was some reference to this during Dvoryansky’s interrogation). After meeting Dzhemilev, Dvoryansky brought “all kinds of rubbish” into the barracks and carried on anti-Soviet conversations.

Mustafa asked Sokolov about his previous testimony, from which it followed that Sokolov had been watching Dvoryansky and had handed in some of his notes to the security section, “Was it your duty to pick up notes and hand them in?”

“What are you talking about?” said Sokolov. “What? Am I a spy? I only took them and handed them over. Why are you tormenting me? I’m sweating all over as it is.”

From questions put by the defence counsel it turned out that, soon after giving evidence at the pre-trial investigation, Sokolov had been released from the camp and transferred to a “free settlement regime” (of his 12-year sentence he had two years left to serve).


The prisoner Fedotov, who had worked as some sort of supervisor in the camp, stated that Mustafa had been assigned to be his assistant on his arrival in the camp. Soon Dzhemilev had refused to do this work, as his conscience did not allow it. In any case, the authorities would not keep a “political” in such a post.

The next two witnesses were camp guards, who had been among those who searched Dzhemilev’s work-room on 14 May 1975. They had not read the confiscated papers; in any case, some of them had not been in Russian. When the prosecutor asked if Dzhemilev had denied that the papers were his, they replied:

“No, he only asked us to number them and make a list of them. But we said, ‘Why? We’re giving them all to the officer in charge in your presence’.”

The defence counsel asked: “Where was the record of the search drawn up?”

“We compiled the report at the security department,” said one of the witnesses. The judge disallowed a question from defence counsel as to whether the witness knew the correct search procedure. These two witnesses, unlike those before them, were allowed to remain in the courtroom.

The testimony of Markov, Dzhemilev’s former superior at work, was read out (he had died before the trial). Markov referred favourably to Dzhemilev. On 14 May, he stated, he had been asked to leave the room while a search was carried out. When he returned, he saw a pile of papers, the content of which he did not know.

The court went on to question the defendant. The judge frequently interrupted Dzhemilev, especially when he said that the KGB had specially prepared a new case against him. He demanded that Dzhemilev should merely clarify the case evidence relating to the charge, the evidence given by Dvoryansky at the pre-trial investigation, and the documents. Mustafa commented on certain specific information which Dvoryansky had allegedly obtained from conversations with him, e.g. “Dzhemilev was linked with Sakharov, Solzhenitsyn and Grigorenko, who are former White Guards.”

Dzhemilev’s comment: “At the time of the “White Guards” Grigorenko was 8 years old, while Sakharov and Solzhenitsyn were even younger.”

“Dzhemilev praised Gasprinsky and his anti-Soviet, anti-Russian views.”

Dzhemilev’s comment: “Gasprinsky was a Crimean Tatar writer and educator, who translated a great deal of Russian literature. He died in 1914.”

“Why”, asked the judge, “did you not give evidence about this at the pre-trial investigation, or inform investigator Guselnikova that Dvoryansky’s evidence was false? The investigation would have looked into it.”

“I simply consider Guselnikova to be a criminal.”

Prosecutor: “I have known Guselnikova for 15 years and can vouch for her.”

“Your guarantees are quite unnecessary,” said the judge. ‘We shall not be discussing that matter here.”

In answering one of the basic points of the indictment – concerning the ‘invention of a problem of national existence — Mustafa said: “The problem arose when our whole nation was exiled in 1944.”

The judge said, “We don’t have any nationality problems [in the USSR]. And in 1944 the whole world was applauding the victorious advance of the Red Army.”

“The victorious advance”, said Dzhemilev, “did not stop the deportation of the Crimean Tatar nation, which had contributed its share to the victory.”

“But surely you know the reason for the Decree of 1944!” said the judge.

The defence counsel said: “I consider a discussion of the Decree inappropriate. In 1956 the deportation was declared to have been wrong and condemned.”

“The nationality problem has always been regarded as settled here [in the USSR],” said Dzhemilev, “and those who disagreed were always imprisoned. But the recognitition in 1956 that the unfounded accusations made against a whole nation were unjustified was an admission that a problem existed. The police surveillance was then lifted and the problem was declared to have been solved. However, in 1967 a new Decree on the Crimean Tatars was issued – which means that the problem persisted from 1956 to 1967. In my opinion, the problem has not been solved even now; and my opinion is my opinion and not a crime. For me, as a Crimean Tatar, the problem will remain until we return to our homeland.”

“The problem was solved long ago,” said the judge. “Here are the witnesses you wanted to be called” (he read out their surnames and addresses) “– they are all from the Crimea.”

“If you were to call them,” said Dzhemilev, “they would tell you how many years they were kept hanging about, how they suffered, living without a residence permit, how they were driven out. The whole nation cannot return to the Crimea in that way.”

“Well, I myself cannot get a residence permit in Moscow, for example,” said the judge. “Even in Omsk people are kept hanging about. Certain norms exist! It’s not a question of nationality.”

Concerning the “Declaration” which had been confiscated from him, Dzhemilev explained that the text had been a draft, an unfinished expression of his views. “As the national problem exists for me, I was developing my thoughts on the subject.” There were not three documents, but one in different languages; the variant readings which existed in them, and which had led to the indictment referring to three separate texts, could be explained by lack of accuracy in translation.

During the trial Dzhemilev succeeded in showing that the translator (she was present in court) had taken his Tatar text for Turkish, as it was written in the Latin alphabet and not in the officially used Russian alphabet. The meaning of certain words in these languages, which are in general closely related, was quite different and Dzhemilev gave examples of mistakes in the translation. He had done the translation into English to give himself practice in the language.

It is stated in one of the sections of the “Declaration” that the Crimean Tatar national movement should act within the framework of Soviet law. If the government refuses to make a just decision, however, the movement would be right to appeal to international organizations. Dzhemilev confirmed this: he considered that if the Soviet Union had signed the [1948] Declaration of Human Rights and other international agreements, it should be permissible to demand that these be carried out in practice. The judge again repeated that the nationalities question had been settled in our country and that, if the government did not consider it necessary to make a decision on some matter, it could not be discussed by any kind of international organizations; to appeal to the latter meant to slander our system. These were our internal affairs, and we would not allow anyone else to interfere in them. “We do not recognize every international agreement.”

Dzhemilev replied: “Here we are speaking of those agreements which have been signed by our government.”

Another principle of the Crimean Tatar national movement which was noted in the ‘Declaration” was also discussed: that individuals could “take part in the movement irrespective of their political views or place of residence”.

The judge said: “Does that mean that both communists and fascists could be members?”

“Why go to such extremes?” said Dzhemilev. “Of course, some restrictions could be made. But this is not the final text, after all.”

The prosecutor asked: “You allege that this is only a draft. Were you preparing to finish and distribute this document?”

Dzhemilev replied that, if he had completed the text and had thought it through to the end, he might have started to show it to others. Answering a question put by his lawyer, Dzhemilev said that no one in the camp had read the “Declaration”, nor could they have done so: even the Russian text was written in Arabic script.

In his letter to Ametov, Mustafa had called B. Gafarov’s article untrue.

Judge: “This article was printed by the Nauka publishing house. You are defaming an official Soviet institution.”

Dzhemilev: “The article states that most Crimean Tatars live in the Crimea, but according to our statistics for 1967-8, after the 1967 Decree 12,000 persons returned to the Crimea, but those able to remain there numbered —”

Judge: “What do you mean – your statistics? Statistics can be compiled only by government departments. Who gave you the right to assemble statistical data?”

Dzhemilev: “At any rate, to do so is not forbidden and is not a crime.”

Judge: “Private individuals are not allowed to conduct a census.”

Interrupting Dzhemilev, the judge told him more than once that he was not in the witness box in order to spout propaganda. In answer to one such remark, Mustafa said: “What do you mean by propaganda? The audience here are all your people, there are only four of my relations present.”

The judge replied: “I don’t know anything about the audience. They came here of their own accord.”

At the beginning of the hearing on 15 April, the defendant and the defence counsel put forward some new requests.

The defence counsel asked, first, that a letter from Dvoryansky to Alim Muzafarov, dated 13 July 1975, should be added to the evidence. In it, Dvoryansky tells of Dzhemilev’s arrest and hunger-strike, and writes, in addition, that there are documents in existence proving that the case against him has been fabricated. The counsel’s second request was that the court should send for Dvoryansky’s library card from the corrective labour colony in Barnaul, in order to establish that there he was already reading the books in which, according to the indictment, he had made notes of a prejudiced nature under the influence of Dzhemilev. Defence counsel also asked for Dvoryansky’s notes to be obtained from his personal file (evidently the notes that had been handed in to the security section by Sokolov).

Dzhemilev asked for the following witnesses to be called:

(1) the prisoner Sergeyev who, according to Sokolov, had heard anti-Soviet remarks by Dvoryansky which had been inspired by his acquaintance with Dzhemilev;

(2) Basyr Gafarov, Candidate of Philological Science, Professor Reshid Muzafarov and the writer Eshrefi Shamil-zade, who could give evidence on the language and literature of the Crimean Tatars, as he, Dzhemilev, was being accused of libel on these matters;

(3) Reshat and Zera Dzhemilev, Aishe Seitmuratova, Remzi Ablayev, Gulnar Seidalieva, to give evidence on residence registration in the Crimea. “You don’t have to look far for these witnesses,” said Dzhemilev, “they are here.”

The request concerning Dvoryansky’s letter was granted; the rest were rejected by the court. It was stated that the very existence of Crimean Tatar academics and writers proved that there was no discrimination against them.

In his speech for the prosecution, procurator Kalutsky said that Dvoryansky had given the right evidence at the pre-trial investigation, but that Dzhemilev had worked on him and that was why he had renounced his evidence in court, slandering the investigating authorities and the supervisory procurator into the bargain.

The prosecutor called Dzhemilev an amoral person, a hardened and incorrigible criminal. He rejected Dzhemilev’s statement that the text of the “Declaration” was not the final draft, by making the following comment: “There is a point concerning membership of an organization, and this is mentioned last. This means that the document is complete and ready for distribution.” Dzhemilev had called on all Tatars who had formerly lived in the Crimea to unite, including even fascists; in the text he did not make the qualifications of which he had spoken during the trial. He called for the organization of a protest campaign, for interference in Soviet internal affairs, i.e. for disobedience and opposition to Soviet power.

Dzhemilev had called the actions of the Soviet government in 1944 unjust, when the whole world was celebrating the victory of the Soviet people.

The prosecutor demanded a sentence of 3 years in a strict-regime camp for Dzhemilev.

In addition, he demanded that Dvoryansky should be prosecuted for giving false evidence in court.


In his speech defence counsel Shveisky said that in examining this case it was impossible to avoid speaking of the problem of nationality. This question was especially important for our multi-national country, and the sentence should strengthen friendship between nations. As defence counsel, he would not defend the opinions held by his client, as he would then appear to share his views, which he did not. However, he could not put forward the point of view held by the prosecution, as he would then be a second prosecutor.

He saw it as his task to analyse only the legal aspect of the case: did the facts uphold the charge of disseminating knowingly false fabrications libelling the Soviet system? The charge of oral dissemination was based solely on the evidence of Dvoryansky, which mentioned Dzhemilev’s slanderous utterances only generally, with no concrete examples. The defence counsel was convinced that Dvoryansky’s renunciation of his previous evidence was sincere. However, to be objective, either all Dvoryansky’s evidence – at the trial and during the pre-trial investigation – should be rejected as unreliable, or the contradictions in it should be investigated and the methods used in the investigation should be verified.

The documents written by Dzhemilev had not been distributed. That was obvious from the very means by which they were produced. The defence counsel rejected the charge that Dzhemilev had written them “in code” in order to conceal a crime. The investigation had found it relatively easy to translate or read the texts, but their form had excluded any accidental distribution. Dzhemilev’s explanation that the present text was not meant for distribution had not been disproved in any way.

The defence counsel quoted a published article in which it was stated that criticism of particular government measures was not subject to prosecution under Article 190-1. Dzhemilev might have a mistaken opinion of whether the Crimean Tatar problem had been solved or not, but this was his opinion and not a fabrication. It could be due to various causes: for example, he might not know the real situation because of his long period of imprisonment.

His letter to Ametov was an elementary polemic against a journalistic article.

In October the court had sent the case for further investigation, due to insufficient pre-trial investigation and the insufficiently concrete nature of the charges. However, no new facts had been uncovered. There was nothing criminal in Dzhemilev’s actions. The defence counsel considered the charges unproven and asked the court to bring in a verdict of not guilty.

Dzhemilev’s Final Words

“My fate is linked with the fate of my people, who were deported in 1944.”

The judge here interrupted him: “We’re not discussing that now.” The judge kept on interrupting Mustafa while he was trying to speak about his earlier trials and how they were connected with the present trial.

Asan Dzhemilev shouted from the courtroom: “This is his final statement. Why are you interrupting him?” The judge ordered Asan to leave the courtroom and two policemen went up to him. Asan’s expulsion led to a stormy scene outside the courtroom doors. As on the day before, order was restored by means of brute force. When Mustafa’s speech was broken off because of the noise going on outside, his sister Nasfie Khairova said in Tatar: “Those are our friends. The loudest voice is that of Shaker (i.e. “sugar” [meaning Sakharov]).”

The judge told her to leave the courtroom for “prompting” the defendant, but she categorically refused to do so. She was dragged out of the courtroom, at which point Sakharov again hit one of the guards. Mustafa’s mother herself left the courtroom in tears. She shouted in Russian and Tatar:

“Murderers! You don’t even allow my son to make a final statement He’s been on hunger-strike for ten months, he can hardly speak, yet you interrupt him.”

The judge declared an intermission of 15 minutes, during which time everyone was dragged from the entrance-hall into the street. Sakharov and E. Bonner (who had already been taken to the police room at the courthouse) were driven to the police station. There a doctor who examined E. Bonner at her insistence confirmed that she was badly bruised.

After the intermission the judge again warned Dzhemilev: “Don’t try to make propaganda.” Mustafa replied, “What kind of propaganda can I make? There’s only one of my brothers in the courtroom.” (Nasfie and Asan had not been allowed back into the courtroom, and his mother was in no condition to attend.)

Dzhemilev continued his speech.

I did not want to participate in this trial, as sentences are decided beforehand, regardless of the evidence. But then I decided to take an active part in the trial  so that it could not be said that I had indirectly admitted my guilt, that I had no defence against the charges.

The charge is based on evidence given by Dvoryansky. He renounced it here, saying it had been written under the pressure of blackmail and threats. One would think that the prosecution would be shaken, that there should be an investigation to prevent similar actions with regard to other prisoners. However, that would require honesty and civil courage.

Judge: “You are insulting the prosecutor.”

Dzhemilev: “He insulted me – doesn’t that matter?”

Judge: “No one insulted you. I warn you, you will be deprived of your final statement.”

Dzhemilev: “It is our habit to exaggerate the role of personality in history. I am being dealt with because it is thought that I play a decisive role in the movement. Mind you, the prosecutor made me out to be a lone individual, pretending that no movement existed. But my place will be taken by others; perhaps they will act more rightly.

“I will continue my hunger-strike for as long as my imprisonment lasts. I am taking this extreme measure to prevent similar reprisals being taken on other people.

I do not expect any mercy from the court, 1 don’t need mercy, I need justice.

The sentence of the court fully upheld the indictment on all points, including the incrimination of Dzhemilev with three “Declarations”. It was counted as additional proof of guilt that the list of 15 witnesses proposed by Dzhemilev include Tatars now living in the Crimea. Dzhemilev’s guilt had been proved by Dvoryansky’s evidence at the pre-trial hearing. His renunciation of this evidence was declared false and disproved by his interrogation as a witness, and by the evidence of other witnesses and the defendant.

The sentence stated that Dzhemilev had been found guilty three times and had not reformed. The court sentenced Dzhemilev to 2 years and six months’ imprisonment in a strict-regime corrective labour colony.

The court also made a separate ruling to start criminal proceedings against Dvoryansky for “giving false evidence at a trial”.


On the same day Mustafa’s relatives were allowed to visit him (all together). Before the visit they spoke to Radchenko, the deputy-governor of the prison, about Mustafa ending his hunger-strike, if he consented to do so. Radchenko promised he would have medical attention, a special diet, a quiet cell and parcels at any time, including fruit juices, which are essential for persons emerging from a hunger-strike.

The visit took place through a double glass barrier. His relatives told Mustafa that all his friends, including the Grigorenko family and the Sakharovs, were asking him to end his hunger-strike. Everything was being done to publicize the case. If he ended his hunger-strike, it would help him in the appeal court. His mother tried to persuade Mustafa more than anyone else – for her own sake and that of his sick father.

Mustafa agreed to end his hunger-strike.

The prison governor, Surov, upheld Radchenko’s promise to give Dzhemilev a single cell of his own choice or a cell shared with “quiet old men”, and not to put him in an ordinary cell, with “its criminal behaviour and where any excesses are possible”.

At the end of April a parcel containing fruit juices, which E. G. Bonner had sent to Mustafa, was returned to her with a label reading: “Returned as not from a relative.” (Such a restriction has no basis in law and is unprecedented.)

There are fears that if the appeal court confirms the verdict, Dzhemilev will resume his hunger-strike.

[See “Protests and appeals. Two more documents”, this issue, CCE 40.3 (a)

and “A visit to Mustafa Dzhemilev”, October 1976, CCE 42.4]