Shaban Umerov

Shaban Umerov

Shaban Umerov's sixth granddaughter was born during his imprisonment. The Umerovs can't wait to fully share this joy with the head of their family. “We remember that terrible day as if it was yesterday”, says his wife Zarema, “at 6 in the morning, someone started banging on our door. We opened and many men from the special forces with machine guns burst into our house”.

The family was forced to stay sitting on their sofa, forbidden to move and talk while the search was underway. The Russian security officers did not allow access to a lawyer.

As of September 2020, Shaban Umerov is being held in the Simferopol jail. “His lawyers' requests to release him to house arrest have been rejected, and his court hearings are constantly postponed”, says Zarema.

Shaban has health problems and relies on medication delivered to him by relatives. About six months ago, one of his medications likely proved crucial to saving his life, as he suffered a suspected heart attack.

For the Shaban family, the petition for the release of political prisoners is an outstretched hand of help from the Ukrainian people. As Zarema puts it, “we are very heartened to hear that people stand against this injustice, that they do not believe the lies, and that they support us. I’m grateful for these initiatives to free our men”