Riza Omerov

Riza Omerov

“Our family has four small children. The eldest son is seven years old, the youngest is 10 months old--he was separated from his father before his birth. My husband did not hear the child's first cry, and now he cannot witness how the boy grows; he can't see these little hands and feet at play or hear our baby's first words,” says Sevil Omerova, the wife of Crimean political prisoner Riza Omerov, a figure of the so-called Bilohirsk group in the “Khizb ut-Takhrir case”. He faces up to 20 years in prison.

“My husband was going to work, he was working as a sales representative when at half-past six in the morning we heard a knock on the door. Our house was searched, and my husband was detained. He was taken to the FSB, and I was taken by an ambulance to the perinatal center in Simferopol. I was in the 29th week of pregnancy, the birth started prematurely,” Sevil Omerova recalls.

The trial took place on the same day, and Riza Omerov was remanded in custody. While the investigation was ongoing, he was in the Crimea, but in April 2020 he was transferred to Rostov-on-Don, where court hearings will take place.

“The children constantly ask when he will return. They are very sad and often cry, hug photos and say: “This is my Babaka. I want him to come back and take us on the trampolines again.” Our eldest son went to the first grade. He cried through the entire school assembly because he wanted his father to take him to school,” says the political prisoner's wife.

Seville says that it is also difficult for her without a husband because he was her support, someone to lean on. "For me, the brightest memories are the nine years of our life we spent together. I thank God for this marriage. Riza is very attentive and kind. We often took vacations, went to the sea, had picnics. We laughed constantly, time passed in joy - until June 2019,” she explains.

 “The lawyer says that in the pre-trial detention center Riza developed dental problems and severe lower back pain. Also, one of the prisoners in their cell fell ill, he was in serious condition, having a fever and a cough. But no one in this cell was tested for coronavirus, and they weren't even asked about their health.”