Crimean Tatar Activist Riza Asanov Flees Occupied Crimea
He still continues to fight against the repressions of the occupation authorities
His story is a stark reminder of how Russian authorities are cracking down on all voices that defy its rules.
UATV met with Asanov to learn more about his fight against Russian oppression.
Asanov decided to continue the struggle for the rights of Crimean Tatars from mainland Ukraine.
“How can my homeland benefit from a dead patriot? I am a fighter. Many people believe that I left Crimea because I was attacked. No. Five people that I am very close to are imprisoned, and by stopping my fight for them, for freedom, I will betray them,” Asanov said.
On Jan. 2, two unknown assailants attacked him near the Belogorsk ring road in Crimea. Asanov was there filming the construction of Tavrida highway.
From Kyiv, he filed a complaint to the Prosecutor’s Office of Crimea.
“Right now, the issue of medical and legal assessment is being considered,” deputy prosecutor general of occupied Crimea, Ihor Ponochovniy said.
The occupation authorities of Crimea are continuing to pressure anyone who expresses dissent.
Forty-four criminal proceedings were started, according to information stated by a Crimean human rights group. At least 37 Ukrainians are imprisoned under fabricated charges.
“Overall, the punitive system is getting stricter. We can see that the persecution of activists under the guise of the extremist and the so-called anti-terrorist legislations. Moreover, there are more cases on the issue of free speech and freedom of expression. Meaning, it is about social networks,” head of Crimean Human Rights Group, Olha Skrypnyk said.
Despite that, Crimean activists are continuing their struggle. They come to courts to support political prisoners, immediately distribute videos about illegal searches, give information about repressions on the occupied peninsula to the Ukrainian and world media.
“Dozens, hundreds gather even today, when it is cold and snowing in Crimea. People come to support. It makes the Russian authorities in Crimea very nervous,” Asanov added.
Asanov connects the pressure on him with his support of captured Ukrainian sailors. At the end of November, he was one of the people who came to the Kremlin-controlled Simferopol court to support these prisoners of war. He was the one who gave updates from there so quickly. He went live in a news broadcast for UATV.
“The court was not persuaded by that. It will be same. The pre-trial restrictions will be till Jan. 25,” Asanov says on the video.
Asanov promises he will never stop his fight against the occupation authorities.
“I will fight to the end,” Asanov said.