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Crimean Tatars Under Growing Pressure Two Years After Annexation

On March 16, 2014, residents of the Crimean peninsula voted to join Russia in a referendum condemned as illegal by Ukraine and nearly 100 other countries. On March 21, Russia officially annexed the territory. In the two years since, members of the Crimean Tatar minority have been among the most vocal critics of the annexation, and their self-governing body, the Mejlis, has refused to recognize the change of government. Some Crimean Tatars have fled the peninsula, and others who remained in Crimea have cited harassment by the Moscow-backed authorities.


Miriem stands in her kitchen in Koreiz, Crimea. Her husband, Emir-Usein Kuku, a human rights activist, has been arrested repeatedly in the past year on charges including "inciting hatred" or "denigrating human dignity."
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Miriem stands in her kitchen in Koreiz, Crimea. Her husband, Emir-Usein Kuku, a human rights activist, has been arrested repeatedly in the past year on charges including "inciting hatred" or "denigrating human dignity."

 Bekir, 9, is Miriem and Emir-Usein Kuku's son.
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 Bekir, 9, is Miriem and Emir-Usein Kuku's son.

The couple's daughter, Sofie, age 5
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The couple's daughter, Sofie, age 5

Miriem and Emir-Usein's home was raided for the first time last April. Emir-Usein is a member of the Crimean Contact Group, which searches for ethnic Tatars who have gone missing.
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Miriem and Emir-Usein's home was raided for the first time last April. Emir-Usein is a member of the Crimean Contact Group, which searches for ethnic Tatars who have gone missing.

Sofie plays air guitar.
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Sofie plays air guitar.

In February 2016, Emir-Usein Kuku was targeted again, this time in a series of police raids on the homes of Crimean Tatars. Thirteen people were taken for questioning, and four, including Kuku, have remained in custody. 
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In February 2016, Emir-Usein Kuku was targeted again, this time in a series of police raids on the homes of Crimean Tatars. Thirteen people were taken for questioning, and four, including Kuku, have remained in custody. 

After the raids last month, the minority's governing body, the Mejlis, said that "a new wave of repressions has started in Crimea against Crimean Tatars."
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After the raids last month, the minority's governing body, the Mejlis, said that "a new wave of repressions has started in Crimea against Crimean Tatars."

Miriem and Sofie walk outside their home.
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Miriem and Sofie walk outside their home.

A grave marker for Emir-Usein's father, Kemal Kuku, who died shortly after his son was detained by Russian authorities.
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A grave marker for Emir-Usein's father, Kemal Kuku, who died shortly after his son was detained by Russian authorities.

Munir (left) and Zarema Alivapov in their kitchen in Alupka, Crimea. Their son Muedin was arrested on charges of setting fire to cars, but his family denies the allegations, saying their son's detention was politically motivated. A string of arson cases, possibly gang-related, has continued since Muedin's arrest. 
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Munir (left) and Zarema Alivapov in their kitchen in Alupka, Crimea. Their son Muedin was arrested on charges of setting fire to cars, but his family denies the allegations, saying their son's detention was politically motivated. A string of arson cases, possibly gang-related, has continued since Muedin's arrest. 

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Muedin's brother Murat and their mother outside their home
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Muedin's brother Murat and their mother outside their home

Munir Alivapov outside his family's home
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Munir Alivapov outside his family's home

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