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Russian Federation: Crimean tatar’s health at risk

    Thursday, July 25, 2019 - 15:47

    Edem Bekirov © Private


    On 3 July 2019, a court in Russian-occupied Crimea rejected Edem Bekirov’s appeal to review his pre-trial detention. Crimean Tatar Edem Bekirov has been detained since December 2018 in conditions that are not suitable for his disability. He also continues to be denied the specialized medical care he urgently requires. 

    Edem Bekirov has several serious medical conditions, including diabetes, an open wound on his amputated leg, and heart problems after a heart attack. He requires specialized and constant medical care that is not available in the detention centre. Moreover, he is held in conditions that are not suitable for a person with a disability. As a result, he is deprived of regular access to fresh air and proper access to sanitation. Despite this, on 3 July a court rejected Edem Bekirov’s appeal to review his pre-trial detention. 

    On 19 June, Edem Bekirov was temporarily transferred to a hospital to be examined by a cardiologist and an endocrinologist. Edem Bekirov’s lawyer believes this was a way for Russia to comply with a decision by the European Court of Human Rights granting interim measures in favour of Edem Bekirov on account of his deteriorating health. Edem Bekirov's lawyer, who contacted the detention centre’s medical staff after his client was returned from the hospital, reported that he was not allowed to see the actual results of the examination. The lawyer also added that Edem Bekirov requires an examination by a neurologist, an orthopaedist, and a lung specialist to fully assess his health condition.

    The conditions in which Edem Bekirov is kept, including lack of the medical care he requires, violate his human rights, put his life at risk and amount to inhuman and degrading treatment. 

    Please send an email or letter to Major General Bulgakov.

    • Start with Dear Major General and a sentence about yourself to make your message unique.
    • Draw to his attention the worrying health situation of Edem Bekirov, who is currently held in the Simferopol SIZO since his detention on 12 December 2018. 
    • Ask him to urgently ensure that Edem Bekirov is provided with the medical care he requires, including in a hospital outside of the penitentiary system if this is not available to him in detention.
    • Urge him to ensure that Edem Bekirov's lawyer can access the medical file to see the actual results of his client's examinations.

    Write to

    Major General Vadim V. Bulgakov
    Head of the Federal Penitentiary Service Directorate for Crimea
    Ul. Gagarina 18-a
    Simferopol, Crimea
    Email:  or 

    Please copy

    His Excellency Alexander Darchiev
    Ambassador for the Russian Federation
    285 Charlotte Street
    Ottawa, Ontario K1N 8L5
    Fax:         613 236 6342
    Phone:        613 235 4341  or  613 236 1413

    Additional information

    Edem Bekirov is a member of the ethnic Crimean Tatar minority in Ukraine. Part of his family still live in the Crimean Peninsula, which was occupied and annexed by Russia in 2014. On 12 December 2018, Edem Bekirov was visiting his mother and relatives in Crimea when he was detained by Russian security forces. Following his arrest, Edem Bekirov was subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment, did not receive medical assistance or food or water for two days, and his right to a fair trial was violated. He has been accused of possession and transfer of explosives and ammunition. These charges are often reportedly used by Russian law enforcement officials to target individuals arbitrarily, particularly in the context of politically-motivated prosecution. Edem Bekirov maintains his innocence. 

    Since the occupation and illegal annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation in 2014, Amnesty International has documented the systematic persecution of members of the Crimean Tatar community by Russian authorities (see for instance In the dark: The silencing of dissent). Edem Bekirov’s case has been publicly raised on several occasions by the European Union. On 11 June 2019, it was reported that the European Court of Human rights had granted interim measures in favour of Edem Bekirov, under Rule 39 of its Rules of Court, urging the Russian State to transfer him to a hospital due to his deteriorating health. Interim measures are granted on an exceptional basis to prevent serious and irreversible harm and although they are provided for only in the Rules of Court and not in the European Convention on Human Rights, States Parties are under an obligation to comply with them.

    If you want Updates on this case, send your request to with “Keep me updated on UA 79/19 Russian Federation” in the subject line.