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Crimea: Political Activists Who Were Killed, Kidnapped, Or Went Missing

After Russia's illegal annexation of the Ukrainian region of Crimea in March 2014, kidnappings and suspicious disappearances have become common. The abductions of Reshat Akhmetov and Ervin Ibragimov were even recorded on video but still not fully investigated.

Various human rights groups have given different numbers for Crimean residents who have gone missing or who have died in a suspicious manner. According to the CrimeaSOS website and the Crimean Human Rights Group, eight to 17 residents of Crimea disappeared over the last three years. At least six of them were later found dead. Some activists say the true number is higher.

In marking the United Nations' International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances on August 30, below is a list of some of those who have gone missing in Crimea or who were found dead under unclear circumstances in the years since annexation. (Stylized images provided by Crimean Tatar Resource Center)

Reshat Ametov, Crimean Tatar activist On March 3, 2014, he was kidnapped by people in camouflage in front of the Crimean Council of Ministers building in the center of Simferopol as he stood in a one-man protest against Russia's annexation of Crimea. His body, with signs of torture, was later recovered near the village of Zemlyanichne in the Bilohirsk Region. He was 39 at the time of his disappearance.  
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Reshat Ametov, Crimean Tatar activist

On March 3, 2014, he was kidnapped by people in camouflage in front of the Crimean Council of Ministers building in the center of Simferopol as he stood in a one-man protest against Russia's annexation of Crimea. His body, with signs of torture, was later recovered near the village of Zemlyanichne in the Bilohirsk Region. He was 39 at the time of his disappearance.
 

Timur Shaimardanov, Crimean Tatar activist of the Ukrainian National House public initiative In March 2014, he provided humanitarian help for the Ukrainian military in Crimea. On May 26, 2014, he left his house in Simferopol and hasn’t been seen since. Relatives and witnesses have said that he was kidnapped by militants of the "Crimean self-defense forces." He was 33 at the time of his disappearance. 
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Timur Shaimardanov, Crimean Tatar activist of the Ukrainian National House public initiative

In March 2014, he provided humanitarian help for the Ukrainian military in Crimea. On May 26, 2014, he left his house in Simferopol and hasn’t been seen since. Relatives and witnesses have said that he was kidnapped by militants of the "Crimean self-defense forces." He was 33 at the time of his disappearance. 

Seyran Zinedinov, Crimean Tatar, activist of the Ukrainian National House public initiative He was involved in searching for his fellow activist Timur Shaimardanov. In the evening of May 30, 2014, he met Shaimardanov’s wife and never returned home. His mobile phone signal was later recorded at a guest house near Yevpatoria. Relatives said there is CCTV footage of him being forced into a car. Witnesses said he was kidnapped by militants of the "Crimean self-defense forces." He was 32 at the time of his disappearance.
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Seyran Zinedinov, Crimean Tatar, activist of the Ukrainian National House public initiative

He was involved in searching for his fellow activist Timur Shaimardanov. In the evening of May 30, 2014, he met Shaimardanov’s wife and never returned home. His mobile phone signal was later recorded at a guest house near Yevpatoria. Relatives said there is CCTV footage of him being forced into a car. Witnesses said he was kidnapped by militants of the "Crimean self-defense forces." He was 32 at the time of his disappearance.

Vasily Chernysh, Ukrainian activist of the AvtoMaidan movement He was involved is the search of activists kidnapped in Crimea. Before, he worked at the Ukraine Security Service in Sevastopol. He contacted his relatives for the last time on March 15, 2014. Nothing is known for sure about what happened to him. Fellow activist Oleksiy Hrytsenko said that police came to Chernysh's apartment in Sevastopol and took him to an unknown location. He was 36 at the time of his disappearance.
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Vasily Chernysh, Ukrainian activist of the AvtoMaidan movement

He was involved is the search of activists kidnapped in Crimea. Before, he worked at the Ukraine Security Service in Sevastopol. He contacted his relatives for the last time on March 15, 2014. Nothing is known for sure about what happened to him. Fellow activist Oleksiy Hrytsenko said that police came to Chernysh's apartment in Sevastopol and took him to an unknown location. He was 36 at the time of his disappearance.

Ivan Bondarec, Ukrainian participant of the Maidan protests in Kyiv Together with his fellow activist Valery Vashchuk, Bondarec arrived in Simferopol from Kyiv and phoned his relatives, saying they had been detained by the police. He then said they were released and were going to meet with fellow activists. Later both of them disappeared. Ivan Bondarec was 23 at the time of his disappearance.
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Ivan Bondarec, Ukrainian participant of the Maidan protests in Kyiv

Together with his fellow activist Valery Vashchuk, Bondarec arrived in Simferopol from Kyiv and phoned his relatives, saying they had been detained by the police. He then said they were released and were going to meet with fellow activists. Later both of them disappeared. Ivan Bondarec was 23 at the time of his disappearance.

Valery Vashchuk, Ukrainian participant of the Maidan protests in Kyiv Together with fellow activist Ivan Bondarec, Vashchuk arrived in Simferopol from Kyiv and phoned his relatives, saying they had been detained by the police. He then said that they were released and were going to meet with fellow activists. Later, both of them disappeared. Valery Vashchuk was 28 at the time of his disappearance.
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Valery Vashchuk, Ukrainian participant of the Maidan protests in Kyiv

Together with fellow activist Ivan Bondarec, Vashchuk arrived in Simferopol from Kyiv and phoned his relatives, saying they had been detained by the police. He then said that they were released and were going to meet with fellow activists. Later, both of them disappeared. Valery Vashchuk was 28 at the time of his disappearance.

Islyam Dzhepparov, Crimean Tatar He is the son of Crimean Tatar activist Abdurashid Dzhepparov. In September 2014, witnesses said two masked men in black uniforms, probably of the "Crimean self-defense forces," frisked Islyam Dzhepparov and his fellow activist Dzhavdet Islyamov, forced them into a minibus, and drove them toward the city of Feodosia. Islyam Dzhepparov was 18 at the time of his disappearance.
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Islyam Dzhepparov, Crimean Tatar

He is the son of Crimean Tatar activist Abdurashid Dzhepparov. In September 2014, witnesses said two masked men in black uniforms, probably of the "Crimean self-defense forces," frisked Islyam Dzhepparov and his fellow activist Dzhavdet Islyamov, forced them into a minibus, and drove them toward the city of Feodosia. Islyam Dzhepparov was 18 at the time of his disappearance.

Dzhavdet Islyamov, Crimean Tatar He was kidnapped in September 2014 together with Islyam Dzhepparov, the son of Crimean Tatar activist Abdurashid Dzhepparov. Dzhavdet Islyamov was 22 at the time of his disappearance. (See above.)  
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Dzhavdet Islyamov, Crimean Tatar

He was kidnapped in September 2014 together with Islyam Dzhepparov, the son of Crimean Tatar activist Abdurashid Dzhepparov. Dzhavdet Islyamov was 22 at the time of his disappearance. (See above.)

 

Ervin Ibragimov, Crimean Tatar member of Bakhchysarai Municipal Council, senior specialist for interethnic relations at the Bakhchysarai City Administration In May 2016, witnesses said unidentified people wearing Russian road police uniforms stopped Ibragimov's car near his house in Bakhchysarai. He was forced into another car and taken to an unknown location. On June 1, his passport and employment record book were found near the Arpat bar in Bakhchysarai. He was 30 at the time of his disappearance.
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Ervin Ibragimov, Crimean Tatar member of Bakhchysarai Municipal Council, senior specialist for interethnic relations at the Bakhchysarai City Administration

In May 2016, witnesses said unidentified people wearing Russian road police uniforms stopped Ibragimov's car near his house in Bakhchysarai. He was forced into another car and taken to an unknown location. On June 1, his passport and employment record book were found near the Arpat bar in Bakhchysarai. He was 30 at the time of his disappearance.

Edem Asanov, Crimean Tatar working as a lifeguard at a health resort in Yevpatoria He disappeared on September 29, 2014, last being seen in the town of Saky. His sister said he had left home to take a bus to work at a health resort. His body was later found hanged in a deserted building in Yevpatoria. His relatives said his death had no connection to Crimean politics. However, it became known that Edem’s name was mentioned as a possible "terrorist” as part of the investigation into the arrest of Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov. Asanov was 25 at the time of his disappearance.
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Edem Asanov, Crimean Tatar working as a lifeguard at a health resort in Yevpatoria

He disappeared on September 29, 2014, last being seen in the town of Saky. His sister said he had left home to take a bus to work at a health resort. His body was later found hanged in a deserted building in Yevpatoria. His relatives said his death had no connection to Crimean politics. However, it became known that Edem’s name was mentioned as a possible "terrorist” as part of the investigation into the arrest of Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov. Asanov was 25 at the time of his disappearance.

Mukhtar Arislanov, Crimean Tatar teacher at a school in the Simferopol Region On August 27, 2015, he left his home to buy groceries at a market in Simferopol and hasn’t been seen since. A witness saw him being taken away by two men in police uniforms and forced into a minibus. He was 45 at the time of his disappearance.
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Mukhtar Arislanov, Crimean Tatar teacher at a school in the Simferopol Region

On August 27, 2015, he left his home to buy groceries at a market in Simferopol and hasn’t been seen since. A witness saw him being taken away by two men in police uniforms and forced into a minibus. He was 45 at the time of his disappearance.

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