Eldar Kantemirov

Eldar Kantemirov

Date of arrest: 10.06.2019

Charges: participation in the activities of an organization recognized as terrorist in the territory of the Russian Federation. The case of Khizb ut-Takhrir

Court verdict: Still under investigation

Waiting for him: wife, four children

"In October 2017, after the mass arrests, my husband went out for a one-man protest “Crimean Tatars are not terrorists”. Two days later, he gathered our family and said: “I think there will be searches in our house in the very near future, and we can expect armed people and investigators to come. I ask that you do not cry, and act bravely during these events,” said Elvina Kantymyrova, the wife of Crimean Tatar public activist Eldar Kantymyrov, who has been accused of “terrorism” by the occupational Crimean authorities.

A few weeks after that family conversation, the first search of their home took place.

“There were a lot of people from the OMON (special task police force) and many investigators. People with automatic rifles went into the children's room, the children looked at them and did not cry - so they were clearly affected by the conversation with their father. A year and a half later, the second search took place and my husband was taken away”, - says the wife of the political prisoner. - “He knew where this path would take him, and what he was risking, but it still did not affect his position. He still went to court hearings. And when his best friends were taken away, I realized that they would come for him soon, too.”

On June 10, 2019, eight searches were conducted in the Crimea, in Alushta and Bilohorsk districts, and eight Crimean Tatars were arrested, including Eldar Kantymyrov. Eldar Kantymyrov is a father of four children. The eldest son is 11 years old, the youngest daughter is two years old. Prior to his arrest, he operated a small souvenir shop. Eldar has a degree in Arab studies. He graduated from Kyiv Islamic University, and undertook an internship at the Egyptian University of Al-Azkhar. During his school years, he was the champion of the Crimea in boxing, as well as a medallist of the Ukrainian boxing championship. Eldar`s family was among the Tatar deportees, only able to return to Crimea in 1992.

Since 2014, Eldar has been involved in public activities - attending court hearings and searches for politically motivated cases, going to the one-man protests, and providing support to the families of political prisoners. He was subjected to constant harassment and pressure from law enforcement agencies during this period.

According to human rights activists, as Eldar Kantymyrov was already in prison, it was found that he was suffering from the first stage of Parkinson's disease. In the conditions of a pre-trial detention center, the conditions of his kidneys had also deteriorated.

“All these convicts are very caring people, they are activists and civic journalists who helped the families of convicts, who prevented Russian security forces from committing unlawful acts,” says Elvina Kantymyrova. “And now we’re investing all our hope in the public interest, in people who are not afraid to cover the truth and talk about what is happening in Crimea now.”