Mustafa Dzhemilev at Liberty, March 1978 (48.14)

<<No 48 : 14 March 1978>>

On 30 November 1977, MUSTAFA DZHEMILEV (CCE 47) was taken from a camp in the Far Eastern Primorsky Region (Krai) by special transport (by air, in handcuffs) to Tashkent in Central Asia, where some of his relatives live. On 22 December, at the end of his term, he was released. The certificate he was handed indicated, in the column “is proceeding to place of residence”, the address of his brother Asan Dzhemilev (Uzbek SSR, Tashkent, 3 Biruni St., flat 85). Mustafa declared, as he had in the camp, that he intended to join his parents in the Crimea.

He refused to accept an ID document [“passport”] in Tashkent and sent declarations to the Uzbek SSR’s Procurator’s Office and Ministry of Internal Affairs, requesting the right to choose his place of residence, since his sentence had indicated neither exile nor banishment.

Mustafa Dzhemilev, b. 1943

From the first day agents began to follow him in earnest — sometimes his “escort” grew to 15 in number. After a few days Dzhemilev went to Bekabad (120 km from Tashkent) to see his daughter. No sooner had he arrived at her home when he was arrested, kept overnight in the local prison and next morning taken to Tashkent and there released.

On 30 December 1977, he was formally placed under administrative surveillance: this obliged Dzhemilev, to register [with the police] on the 1st, 15th and 22nd days of every month. At the same time, the head of the department of preventive inspection of the city police, Major Kurbanov, told him that on 1 January 1978 (i.e., the day after next) he need not report. However, on 4 January Dzhemilev was summoned to the police and a record of his violation of the surveillance regulations was made out. The same day a judge fined him 20 roubles for this. When Dzhemilev referred to his conversation with Kurbanov the judge said, “You can’t drag those words into this matter”.

From 9 January 1978 until the end of the month Mustafa Dzhemilev was in hospital: a 10-month hunger-strike before his last trial and a hunger-strike in camp had severely undermined his health: he has a duodenal ulcer, chronic bronchitis and bronchiectasis.

On 19 January, a secret search was carried out at Asan’s flat (the door was opened with a skeleton-key). That day Asan and his wife were detained at work, kept under observation and not permitted to leave even on business matters.


Since his release, Mustafa Dzhemilev has been continuing his struggle for the right of Crimean Tatars to live in the Crimea.

While still in camp, having seen the contents of a letter from Lieut.-Colonel Tsapenko, chairman of the control commission of the Belogorsk district soviet executive committee (Crimean Region), to the camp commandant (CCE 47), Dzhemilev on 16 November 1977 wrote to him as follows:

In connection with the arguments on which you base the refusal to let me register as a resident, I ask you to clarify:

1.            In what exactly is expressed the “flagrant violation of residence regulations” by my parents, living in Belogorsk district, which prevents their registration?

2.            Is the fact of failure to observe, or even violation of, some passport instruction by my parents sufficient grounds for deliberate refusal to give me myself registration for residence in the Crimea?

3.            On the basis of what currently operative political or legal instruments are my parents and myself put in the category of so- called ‘special deportees’?

4.            How far do the restrictions on ‘special deportees’ regarding registration in the Crimea, mentioned in your letter, extend, i.e., what data is it necessary to possess in order, as a ‘special deportee’, nonetheless, to register in the Crimea, since in your letter you speak of restrictions and not of a ban?

5.            In accordance with which currently operative legal instruments that have been published and are, consequently, binding on citizens, is registration in the Crimea by the ‘special deportees’ you mention restricted?

You are requested to send a reply to this letter within the period prescribed by law.

In the case of refusal to give an exhaustive reply to all the questions enumerated above, I shall be forced to regard the arguments put forward in your letter No. 22 of 28 October 1977 as irresponsible, unconstitutional and, I presume, falling under Article 74 of the RSFSR Criminal Code (and the equivalent article of the Uzbek Code) on answerability for violation of the national equality before the law of citizens of the USSR.


Dzhemilev did not receive a reply to this letter. On 29 January 1978 Dzhemilev sent a statement to the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet. He writes of his last conviction:

“The essence of the charge brought against me under Article 190-1 consisted in my having, supposedly with the aim of slandering the Soviet political system, talked and written about restrictions existing in the USSR on the rights of the Crimean Tatars as a national group.”

Setting out, further, the contents of Tsapenko’s letter and of the inquiries he himself put to him, Dzhemilev writes:

“In connection with the above I ask you to inform me whether up to the present time Crimean Tatars really are regarded in the USSR as special deportees and whether there indeed exist political and legal norms restricting their registration for residence in the Crimea.

“If such restrictions do officially exist, l demand their abolition, since they contradict Articles 34 and 36 of the USSR Constitution and constitute a violation of basic human rights. But even if at the present time official norms on restrictions of the rights of Crimean Tatars do not exist, such restrictions are undoubtedly widely practised, to which, in particular, Lieutenant-Colonel Tsapenko’s letter of 28 October 1977 bears witness. It is known to me that at the present time there are hundreds of families of Crimean Tatars in the Crimea who have been refused the right of registering for residence and of getting a job, as a result of which they have found themselves in an extremely difficult economic situation. Besides this many cases are known of forcible expulsion of families of Crimean Tatars beyond the boundaries of the Crimea, and of other illegal repressive measures.

“In accordance with Articles 49 and 58 of the USSR Constitution I request that a government commission with the participation of representatives of the Crimean Tatars be organized to investigate the situation in the Crimea.”

On 1 February 1978, Dzhemilev also wrote to the USSR Procurator-General:

“… a representative of the administrative authorities of the Crimean Region has officially confirmed the existence of legal restrictions on Crimean Tatars as a national group, i.e., a fact which was called a slander on the Soviet system when it was I or other participants of our National Movement who spoke of it. He confirmed that, alongside the USSR Constitution, which speaks of the legal equality of all peoples, and the Decree of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet of 5 September 1967 on the rehabilitation of the Crimean Tatars and the removal of legal restrictions from them, there exist also secret instructions on maintaining these unconstitutional restrictions.

“In general, of course, it is a fairly rare occurrence for the existence of restrictions on Crimean Tatars to be officially confirmed, and in writing. In the majority of cases actual legal restrictions are dressed up in other forms which, although absurd and contradictory, are not connected with the national question. Obviously, Lieutenant-Colonel Tsapenko simply did not know that I too would come to know the contents of his letter.”

In his statement Dzhemilev speaks of the conditions to which he has been subjected since his release: the deliberately provoked violation of the surveillance regulations, the search involving a break-in, and the very illegality of his enforced residence in Tashkent:

“At the October district police station in Tashkent, which was supposed to be putting me under surveillance, it was admitted that I had been treated in an ‘unusual’ way, but they asserted that they themselves could not permit me to leave Tashkent, since my case was in effect being conducted by the KGB and they were unable not to carry out its orders. But whether the KGB orders are legal or illegal does not, it turned out, interest the police. They do not permit me to go to the Crimea, even for a few days, in order to see my sick 80-year-old father, whom 1 have not seen for about four years.”

Mustafa Dzhemilev has still not received a reply to either of these statements.