Protests and Appeals, May 1976 (40.3a)

<<No 40 : 20 May 1976>>



My son Mustafa Dzhemilev has been sentenced for the fifth time.

The first time, he was sentenced without a trial, together with our whole Crimean Tatar nation, to exile from our homeland …

From his childhood Mustafa dreamed of returning to the land of his fathers with our whole people. To this end he has devoted his whole life … I was at the court hearing in Omsk… I myself saw how all the charges and the whole trial were based on lies, and that the only aim of the court was to punish my son for his love of his people …

This trial was nothing more than revenge …

Help me to save my son!

Mahfure Mustafayeva-Dzhemileva

Uzbek SSR, Syrdaryanskaya Region, Gulistan,
16 Oktyabrskaya Street



On 17 April 1976 the well-known historian Alexander Nekrich issued a statement for the press, “Can we remain silent?”

… Dzhemilev, a Crimean Tatar, has devoted many years of his life to the struggle to restore the civil rights of the Crimean Tatars and to assist their return to their historical homeland in the Crimea, from which they were deported by force in 1944. Although the illegality of that act was later acknowledged by the Soviet government and the rights of Crimean Tatars have been formally restored, they are not allowed to live in the land of their forefathers …

Nekrich says “they are afraid to release Dzhemilev”, and he speaks of the false accusations and “the spirit of violence and inhumanity” surrounding the court hearing.

I appeal to everyone who considers himself a decent human being: Do not close your eyes to this arbitrary and unlawful act.

And I ask you: Can we remain silent?

I appeal above all to my colleagues, to historians in the USSR and abroad who have a professional duty to tend the flame of truth lit by Prometheus:

Let us stand up in defence of Dzhemilev, Bukovsky, Superfin, Kovalyov and the others rotting in prison for their beliefs. Let us fight for a general amnesty for political prisoners throughout the world, but first of all in our own country. Today we must save Dzhemilev.

This is our duty — both human and professional.

And let us end our shameful silence.



In an article and appeal, “Save Mustafa Dzhemilev!” (dated 22 April), Lev Kopelev  writes of Dzhemilev’s earlier trials and the recent trial. He declares:

“This monstrous sentence must be rescinded, to save the life of Mustafa Dzhemilev, and to save us all — his countrymen and fellow-citizens — from a shameful guilt.”

Kopelev names people sentenced in recent years “in defiance of the Soviet Constitution”, and remarks that observance of the outward legal formalities (in contrast to the Stalin-era troika or three-man tribunals) does not rule out the arbitrary settling of accounts or unlawfulness.

“Can it be that those who carry out such repressions and the propagandists, men of letters and others, who try to justify this, do not understand that they are merely showing their lack of trust in the strength of the Soviet State and the persuasive power of the ideas they allege they are defending?”

Kopelev calls for the use of legal and non-violent means to gain publicity and true freedom of speech, and to demand an amnesty.

“Only in this way can we prevent the stubborn ‘heirs of Stalin’, uncaring officials without a shred of conscience, from infringing our civil rights and from inflicting on people the kind of suffering to which Mustafa Dzhemilev is now being subjected.”



On 18 May, P. G. Grigorenko and A. D. Sakharov issued a declaration calling for support for Vladimir Dvoryansky. The declaration tells how Dvoryansky was brought into Dzhemilev’s case — by means of promises, threats and punishments — first as an informer and then as a witness.

The decision of the court was an act of revenge for honesty, directed against a man who, having slandered a fellow prisoner, repented of what he had done and found the courage to confess that he had lied. The court wishes to create a precedent for taking vengeance on anyone who might not want to lie at the behest of the punitive authorities. The court handed over a defenceless prisoner to those who forced him to give the false evidence necessary to the investigation. A physical attack on Dvoryansky by criminal prisoners is especially to be feared.

We appeal to you to speak out in defence of Vladimir Dvoryansky!



This declaration or, rather, article does not only express the author’s attitude to the ‘Dzhemilev case’. It reports that in 1968-9 Mustafa completed a historical work which was confiscated by the KGB and never saw the light of day.

P. G. Grigorenko, relying on the summary of this work given in fact by Mustafa at his trial in 1970, outlines the history of the Crimean Tatars since ancient times. He also describes, with the help of many statistics, both their deportation from the Crimea and the nation’s position today. The author contrasts the attitude of the government to the demand of this nation of 850,000 people for an autonomous national existence in their homeland with its expressions of respect for small nations abroad.

At any rate, the attitude of the Soviet government to the Crimean Tatars does not correspond in any way to the spirit of Helsinki. The peoples of Europe must not tolerate this. I refer especially to Europe’s small nations. If they do not now come to the defence of the Crimean Tatars, they may find themselves in a similar situation in the future. For example, the hills and valleys of Switzerland may appeal to someone, and the Germans, French and Italians who used in the past to live in Switzerland may appear there instead of the Swiss.


The Group to Assist the Implementation of the Helsinki Agreements ([the Helsinki Group] see this issue, 40.13, “A new association”) has compiled a document on the infringement of humanitarian articles of the Final Act of the European Conference in the “case of Dzhemilev”. [5]


149 people signed the following declaration.

In Defence of Mustafa Dzhemilev

The trial of Mustafa Dzhemilev in Omsk on 14-15 April 1976 showed a cynical disregard of the law on the part of the authorities — even within the limits of the anti-constitutional articles of the Criminal Code which are used to try Soviet dissenters and fighters for civil rights. Dzhemilev has already spent seven years in labour camps. The persistent efforts of the authorities to prolong his imprisonment at any price, the means by which they tried to fabricate false evidence, the unceremonious way in which the court ignored the argument of defence counsel that the crime was completely nonexistent — all this bears witness to the fact that Stalinist methods of dealing with uncooperative persons are still very much alive.

After ten months of a protest hunger-strike against the falsified charges, the sentence of 2.5 years’ strict-regime passed on M. Dzhemilev could well be equivalent to a death sentence. We appeal to world public opinion and, in particular, to Moslem leaders to speak out strongly in defence of Dzhemilev. At the same time we consider it necessary to call attention once more to the problem of the Crimean Tatars.

The chief witness of the prosecution, the prisoner Vladimir Dvoryansky — in practice, the only witness — is now in danger. At the trial he renounced false evidence he had given earlier, in spite of pressure from the judge and the prosecutor. He stated that evidence he had signed during the pre-trial investigation had been the result of threats and pressure put on him.

We demand a full re-investigation of the case and the release of Mustafa Dzhemilev.


A protest against the new sentence passed on Dzhemilev, addressed to Party and government authorities, has been signed by about 1,600 Crimean Tatars living in Central Asia and more than 800 from the Crimea and surrounding districts.



The Chronicle is publishing in full “The Face of Inhumanity”,
an article by Lidya K. Chukovskaya.

23 April 1976

On 14 April 1976 Mustafa Dzhemilev was put on trial in Omsk.

Why Omsk? Because Mustafa was serving his most recent sentence in a camp not far from Omsk. That’s Reason Number One. Also, because Omsk is a town offering great advantages for conducting an open trial: it is strictly off limits to foreigners. That’s Reason Number Two. In Omsk, far from the eyes of foreign correspondents, it is easier to screen people, allowing some into the courtroom and leaving others on the doorstep.

This kind of screening is done in all our cities, even in Moscow. But in Moscow you can’t do it without some trouble and fuss, whereas in Omsk who cares about the Tatar Mustafa? Among the Omsk residents, Dzhemilev is as much of a freak as a cypress would be in the forest around Omsk.

But it did not prove possible to try Mustafa Dzhemilev in total quiet and without attracting any outsiders. It is not completely in vain that Dzhemilev has spent one-quarter of his life in labour camps (eight of his thirty-three years). The trial was postponed three times; and each time his kinsmen and friends flew to Omsk from thousands of kilometres away. Then they flew a fourth time, from Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Oryol and Moscow. There were sixteen persons in all; but no place was found for them in the courtroom. At first no one was let in; then only immediate relatives, but even they were not permitted to attend the whole trial.

Work it out for yourself. What good does it do to have the defendant’s friends and relatives in the courtroom? That’s not the kind of audience the court needs. Clear out, citizens, and let us work! This courtroom isn’t made of elastic, citizens. There isn’t enough room for everybody. You can see for yourselves how many people are here. (After all, this is not just some ordinary trial: it’s open and public. Naturally, there’ll be an audience. We’re sticking to the law. We brought in our own special, selected audience early — through the rear entrance.)

People are sitting outside the door. His mother? Well, we can probably let his mother in. She is a mother, and we, of course, are humanitarians. Just imagine not letting his mother in! It’s unthinkable! When it’s okay, we’ll let her in, and when it’s not, we’ll put her out. Well, all right, his brothers and sister can come in, but the others have to stay outside. And if they start to make trouble, there’s some black eyes in store for them, and a trip to the police station, because they’re interfering with our work. Those other spectators we let in early will pinion their arms and drag them through the corridor. They’re skilful professionals, and this is a routine job for them.

… Why am I writing about Mustafa Dzhemilev’s trial? Do I have any hopes of helping him? None. But at this trial the features of inhumanity showed themselves so plainly that the failure to get them down on paper would be unpardonable. I shall begin with the end. It is the sacred right of every defendant, whoever he or she may be, to make his final statement, to speak for one last time to the judges’ minds and hearts — to appeal to their sense of justice, duty and honour. The defendant’s right to make his closing statement, be it long or short, is protected by law in all nations of the world. And it is protected by Soviet law. Actually, however, the defendant is rarely allowed to get all the way through his summation, especially when he is not so much concerned with quibbling over intricate technicalities as with substantiating his way of thinking — explaining the basic reasons for his actions.

The court did not allow Mustafa Dzhemilev to make his final plea, even though cutting him off was not only a violation of the law but a crime against humanity.

Dzhemilev stood before the court after being on a hunger strike for ten months. And yet “stood” is not quite accurate: he did not have the strength to stand. As he answered questions from the judge, the procurator, and defence counsel, he somehow raised himself up from the dock, with guards supporting him on both sides. But the thing that was even harder for him than standing was speaking. He moved his lips and whispered. Every word was torture — physical torture — because for ten months, in order to prevent his dying from hunger, he had been force-fed through a tube; and that tube, thrust down into his throat every day, grated against his larynx. Besides this, Mustafa is seriously ill: a heart condition, stomach trouble, and an atrophied liver.

Meantime, the judge was suffering from atrophied human feelings. He was the man with the full belly who does not understand the person who is hungry; the healthy man who does not understand the sick person; the judge whose judicial armchair has all four feet firmly planted on the KGB platform. He was that inhuman individual capable of cutting off the defendant’s last statement, even though he knew it might be almost the last word Mustafa spoke on this earth.

‘Let him speak,’ Mustafa’s brother begged. But the judge ordered him out of the courtroom, just as he had expelled Mustafa’s sister, ‘for disturbing public order’.


Oh, when will we see the order disturbed in the Soviet Union which permits the authorities to close the mouths of people who are speaking?

The Soviet Constitution guarantees freedom of speech to citizens. The laws also guarantee it. But two formulae whose emptiness and compass are beyond all belief — ‘anti-Soviet propaganda’ and ‘anti-Soviet slander’ — guarantee the destruction of that freedom and of the individual, regardless of whether he is speaking the truth or lying. “A man talks about what ails him.” Mustafa Dzhemilev’s sore spot is the Crimea, and that’s what he talks about. The Tatars, shamelessly deported by force from the Crimea in 1944, want to return to the land that they cultivated and loved. Why, in Dzhemilev’s non-violent remarks, must one discover ‘anti-Soviet propaganda’ and not a completely natural call for an open, nationwide discussion of an urgent and topical question? Why must the pain be driven inward, and the man into the grave? And in general, why must every idea born of real pain be anti-Soviet? The concept ‘anti-Soviet’ is as vague as it is all-inclusive. It is verily an insatiable bottomless pit sucking in human ideas and human lives — hundreds and thousands of lives: silently, without a trace, and to no purpose.

Right now, in addition to my concern for Dzhemilev, I am worried about the fate of another man who took part in Mustafa’s trial. His last name is Dvoryansky, and he is 26 years old. The whole trial was essentially built around him and his testimony. He, too, is a prisoner in a labour camp, although I don’t know whether he is a political prisoner or a common criminal.

I know nothing of his past, but when I think of his future, my hair stands on end.

Dzhemilev was convicted because of his alleged “anti-Soviet propaganda” while in a labour camp near Omsk. Who heard him utter the prohibited words? Dvoryansky. The new investigation against Dzhemilev began three days before he was to be released after serving his previous sentence. The camp gates are about to open before you, but it’s no good counting the hours: you’re not going to get out, because a new case has been brought against you.

In protest against this refined and calculated humiliation, Dzhemilev declared a hunger-strike. It didn’t help. They force-fed him through a tube; and on 14 April, half-dead, he was brought to trial. And then something happened that I can only call a miracle. The witness Dvoryansky — the man on whose testimony the new trial was based — stood up tall in the courtroom and in a truly human voice declared that the depositions he had given during the investigation of Dzhemilev’s case were false. (It reminds me of a man crawling out of a fox-hole and into a hail of bullets.) Dvoryansky declared that his false depositions during the investigation were given under duress. Among the means employed were promises and threats that included the punishment cell. He resisted, and was thrown into the punishment cell on five different occasions. Testify against Dzhemilev, and we’ll move you nearer to home. We’ll get your sentence reduced. But if you don’t testify against him, there’ll be trouble for both you and your family, and you’ll have only yourself to blame.* But now he declared that he had never heard anything defamatory of the Soviet system from the mouth of Dzhemilev.

I don’t know what kind of person Dvoryansky was before; but at the trial he behaved like a real human being, a brave man. And did the judge behave like a human being?

I am not a jurist. But even without legal training, on the basis of simple common sense I know precisely what the judge was obliged to do in this case.

First, he should have released Dzhemilev immediately. After all, the prosecution’s case had collapsed, had it not? Then he should promptly have initiated criminal proceedings against the investigators who extorted the false depositions from Dvoryansky.

But that could have happened only if the court had been judging the case on the basis of truth and the law. Then Dvoryansky’s statement would have changed things. But the court was deciding the case on the basis of injustice and illegality and, most important, in accordance with orders from above received in advance.

Did I see those orders? No, I did not. Nobody ever sees such orders: we merely experience their results.

The court sentenced Mustafa Dzhemilev to two years and six months in strict-regime labour camps for anti-Soviet propaganda. Two and a half years, plus three days — the three days left over from the sentence not quite served out.

The court also issued a ‘separate ruling’ for instituting criminal proceedings against… who do you think? The investigators who extorted false testimony from Dvoryansky? No, against Dvoryansky himself. For giving false testimony. That’s right. But what false testimony — his depositions in the labour camp? Not at all: his testimony at the trial.

And there you have it: the face of inhumanity.



The pamphlet reproduced below was found by many Crimean Tatars in their post-boxes round about January 1976, i.e. long before the trial. Nevertheless its authors, as the pamphlet shows, had access to some of the case-evidence.

Aziz arkadashlar!! (Dear Countrymen!!)

We have been aware for a long time that there are some who regard our people as a ‘grey mass’ which can be intoxicated and led astray. We have formed a certain opinion of these persons. We consider it our duty to share their views with our people.

1968-70 saw the appearance of activists such as P. G. Grigorenko, I. Ya. Gabai and Mustafa Dzhemilev, who started to think and decide matters on our behalf. Finally, in order to adapt our thoughts and concerns to their egoistic interests, they composed a National Charter, allotting themselves a leading role in it. However, the absurdity of this undertaking was so evident that it was rejected without question even by those in whom these would-be strategists had placed their hopes. Having failed, these renegades did not give up, and found themselves ‘true friends’ in the West. According to their tastes, they presumptuously rewrote national documents, paying no attention to the protests of those involved.

Recently A. D. Sakharov, with the help of people like M. Dzhemilev, has again been trying to foist on us something resembling the already-rejected charter. They have composed a draft ‘Declaration’. Its second point, as we have managed to discover, reads roughly as follows:

‘Any fellow-citizens of Crimean Tatar nationality may be members of this society, without regard to their country of residence or their political opinions.’

According to the infamous scheme of A. D. Sakharov and M. Dzhemilev, it turns out that Heroes of the Soviet Union Uzeir Abdiramanov, Seitrafe Seitveliev, Abdraim Reshitov and other veterans who participated in the fight against Fascism should now make it up and unite with those who fought against us on the side of the Hitlerite forces which attacked our Motherland.

They should unite, for example, with people like Memet Muedinov, former editor of the pro-fascist newspaper Aza Krymt or Edige Krymal, former henchman of the fascist authorities in the Crimea, or others like them who live abroad and hold political views opposed to ours.

All this is an insult to us as Soviet people, this unheard-of mockery of the bright memory of the heroic partisans Abdula Dagdzhi and Alime Abdenanova, who died courageously at the hands of the fascist executioners.

Only those who have broken with the people and arrogantly despise all that is holy and precious to the people could have thought of such things.

We have no doubt that the dirty intrigues of these renegades will call forth a just and stem condemnation on the part of our whole people.

Representatives of the Crimean Tatar intelligentsia


On 14 April the TASS news agency issued a report stating that the Sakharovs had pushed their way into the courtroom in Omsk, had demanded that they be given seats, and, when they were called to order, had struck a policeman and the court superintendent.

The day after the trial another TASS report appeared:

What really happened

Moscow, 16 April (TASS). Certain dishonest sources of information have been spreading a story that Sakharov and his wife E, Bonner were beaten up in Omsk by the police. We asked Viktor Loboda, TASS correspondent in Omsk, to report to us what really happened. He reported that the story spread by Western sources, based on E. Bonner’s account, about their having been ‘beaten up’, was false.

On 15 April the following events occurred. The Sakharov couple were taken to the police station in the town of Omsk, where an investigation took place concerning the acts of hooliganism they had committed the day before. However, Sakharov and E. Bonner refused to go to the police station, thereby infringing Soviet law. Instead they set off for the courthouse where the criminal case of Dzhemilev was being heard. The brother and sister of the defendant came out of the courthouse to meet Sakharov; the presiding judge had been forced to expel them from the courtroom for interfering with court procedure, interrupting the witnesses by shouting and insulting the judges. The Dzhemilevs stood talking something over with Sakharov, then he went up to the policeman standing outside the courthouse, and, without saying anything, hit him on the face. This aroused indignation among citizens in the street. When they asked Sakharov and E. Bonner to calm down, the latter began a fight, this time with the citizens who were condemning their behaviour.

Representatives of the police, after separating those fighting, asked Sakharov, E. Bonner and the Soviet citizens who had suffered in the fight to come to the police station, where the victims wrote a declaration demanding that Sakharov be punished for hooliganism. The policeman on duty drew up a record of what had occurred, but Sakharov and his wife refused to sign this document and when they were warned that they would be held criminally responsible for their hooliganism, they tried to run out of the police station, but were held back. After the proper documentation had been completed, Sakharov and E. Bonner were allowed to go, but were warned that they had broken Soviet law by their behaviour and could be held criminally responsible. After this, the Sakharov couple considered it advisable to retreat from Omsk and flew to Moscow on the first available plane.

Neither of these [TASS] documents was published within the USSR.[1]


[1] Compare the TASS report denouncing the formation of the Helsinki Group (CCE 40.13) which was also only published outside the Soviet Union.