Osman Seitumerov

Osman Seitumerov

Date of arrest: 11.03.2020

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

“Osman is a man who loves children and always helps his compatriots. We once came up with an initiative in our city to gather people, feed them, and spend time together in a friendly atmosphere. Osman was an active participant in these initiatives,” says Abdulmedzhyt Seitumerov, the brother of 28-year-old Crimean Tatar public activist Osman Seitumerov, a political prisoner and participant in the so-called “third Bakhchysarai group” of the “Khizb ut-Takhrir case”.

Osman Seitumerov was born in the Crimea, in the city of Bakhchysarai, his family’s ancestral homeland which his parents returned to from Uzbekistan. He graduated from the Crimean Engineering and Pedagogical University and worked as a taxi driver and car mechanic. “Osman has been interested in cars since childhood, he is very good at working with them,” said Abdulmedzhyt.

After the annexation of Crimea by Russia and the beginning of systematic persecution of Crimean Tatars, Osman became a public activist. He supported the families of political prisoners, sent packages to pre-trial detention centers, and attended court hearings against Crimean Tatars.

On March 11, 2020, Russian security forces broke into the house of the Seitumerov family. They conducted a search and detained Osman.

“At five in the morning, my parents heard some rustling. Later, we all started to wake up, as it was just time for morning prayer when suddenly people in masks started breaking down the front door. We barely had time to get dressed. My father asked them not to break down the door and opened it for them. These people ran into the house and handed Osman a search warrant. We learned that searches were also being carried out in the houses of our uncle and older brother,” Abdulmedzhyt Seitumerov recalls that fateful day.

On that day, Russian security forces detained two brothers, Osman and Seitumer Seitumerov, as well as their uncle Rustem Seitmemetov. The very next day, March 12, the Kyiv District Court of Simferopol remanded them in custody. All three were charged with "participation in the activities of a terrorist organization" and face up to 20 years in prison.

“Until March 11, we had one way of life, but after the 11th, quite a different life started”, says Abdulmedzhyt Seitumerov. “It is very difficult when your loved ones are taken away. The first few days, I would fall asleep and wake up thinking it was all a terrible dream. This is a wound that will last a lifetime. It's a void inside”.

Osman Seitumerov has been in the Simferopol pre-trial detention center for more than six months now. Abdulmedzhyt says that no physical force was used against his brother. However, he has health problems and does not always receive proper medical care in prison.