Erfan Osmanov

Erfan Osmanov

“We have been together for 11 years and we have a lot of memories. One of the brightest is the birth of our fourth baby. My husband is not very romantic by nature, and I always wanted him to meet me in a special way at the maternity hospital. We came home, and there were balloons, decor, and flowers everywhere. What is precious are not the balloons themselves, but the fact that he did it all for me,” Akime Osmanova, the wife of the Crimean Tatar activist and political prisoner Erfan Osmanov, recalls their happy times.

Erfan Osmanov, a Crimean Tatar activist, regularly attended politically motivated court cases in Crimea. He earned his living as an interior decorator. He has a musical pedagogical education and can play the trumpet. He is a father of four children.

He was detained by Russian security forces on March 27, 2019. He is accused of “participating in the activities of a terrorist organization" and "conspiracy to commit insurrection by an organized group.”

Akime remembers how her husband said goodbye to her and the children for the last time. “He approached each son and gave them instructions. He told them they are in charge of the family from then on. I saw the children crying, Erfan could also barely hide his tears…“ admits the wife of the political prisoner.

She says the next few days were filled with uncertainty. Finally, they came to know that Erfan Osmanov was being held in a pre-trial detention center in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don.

“My husband was placed in solitary confinement, where he spent six months. These six months, he said, were very difficult psychologically, you could go crazy,” says Akime Osmanova. “It was then that Erfan's health deteriorated. Heart problems started, he suffered several heart attacks and was resuscitated at his cell. He said that he would be going to bed not knowing if he would wake up. It was so bad that he could no longer speak and stand, even read the prayer in whispers and sitting. No medical care has been provided.”

A pre-trial investigation is ongoing. Osmanov was transferred back to Crimea, to the Simferopol pre-trial detention center.

Akime says that after the search and arrest of Erfan, both she and the children shudder at the slightest rustle. “We have four boys; it is very difficult for them without a father, they are very attached to him. Erfan was constantly teaching them something, he was always with them,” says Akime Osmanova.

“Our relatives' lives pass within the prison walls, although they should be at home raising their children. Children should not be orphans with living parents,” says Akime Osmanova.