Seiran Saliiev

Seiran Saliiev

Date of arrest: 11.10.2017

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: 16 years in prison

Waiting for him: wife, four children

"Seiran and I were unable to get married for two and a half years: my parents insisted that I finish my master's degree, and his mother insisted that Seiran should go to the university. And on the day when the lists of enlisted students were posted and he saw that he was accepted – he brought his mother, came to me and announced - "That's it: I have enrolled and we are getting married!" In less than a week we celebrated our unforgettable wedding. That was 14 years ago," Mumine Saliieva, the wife of political prisoner Seiran Saliiev, recalls.

Seiran Saliiev studied foreign languages ​​at the university, was fascinated by the history of Crimea and worked as a guide. As a well-known civil activist in Crimea, Seiran took part in the activities of Crimean Solidarity and helped compatriots who suffered repression after the annexation of the peninsula.

"The first signals of law enforcement to Crimean Tatar activists were accusations of administrative offenses. This means that you should either cease your activities or leave the Crimea," says Mumine.

On January 26, 2017, the Saliiev`s house was searched for the first time. "It was a terrible search; they used artillery armed for bears, and dogs," Mumine recalls. Seiran was put under arrest for 12 days, and his lawyer Emil Kurbedinov received 10 days in detention.

On October 11, 2017, the Saliiev family were searched for the second time, as well as five other Crimean Tatar activists. Seiran and five other members of the "second Bakhchysarai group" were arrested that morning on suspicion of terrorism.

According to Ms. Saliieva, human rights activists equate the conditions of detention in a pre-trial detention center to torture: unsanitary conditions, bedbugs and lice prevail in the detention centre. "When he was held in the Simferopol pre-trial detention center, Seiran asked to be given earplugs so that he could sleep during the day, because there were 16 prisoners in the cell sharing only 12 beds," Mumine continues. "The men had to take turns sleeping."

On September 16, 2020, the Southern District Military Court in Rostov-on-Don sentenced Seiran to 16 years in a maximum security prison.

For the most part, members of the Crimean Tatar community have been helping Mumine survive difficult times. She says that half a thousand people, many of whom were elderly, came to the hearing when the verdict to the "second Bakhchysarai group" was read in Rostov-on-Don, roughly 700km (about a 15 hour drive) away from the Crimean peninsula.

"These people set aside their own comfort and wellbeing to support us. Nanna Zebure, a veteran of the Crimean Tatar movement, rode with me on the bus. She is already over eighty, but she went to all court hearings. It brought me to tears," says Mumine.