Congratulations to everyone! My name is Osman. I am a Crimean Tatar and a citizen of Ukraine. I have lived in Crimea since 1990. I returned to my homeland at the age of five from Uzbekistan, where my ancestors, together with the entire Crimean Tatar people, were deported in 1944.
I am a professional teacher of mathematics and computer science. Until 2014, I had worked as a programmer. However, due to the occupation, the company left Crimea. Afterwards, I earned my living by teaching programming classes for children privately. While my dear wife took care of our two young children.
Since 2014, the situation in Crimea has changed. The majority of the Crimean Tatar people did not support Russia's invasion in the peninsula. They did not participate in the fake referendum on March 16, 2014, boycotted the vote in the 2018 presidential elections and the referendum 2020 for amendments to the Constitution. Thus, the entire people came under the occupant’s flywheel of political reprisals because of their dissent political position and their own vision of the way of their homeland’s future. On the international arena, Russia gained an image of the aggressor, while Crimean Tatar people proved to be a civilized partner.
Since 2016, citizen journalism became my main activity. Professional journalism in Crimea has disappeared. Some media outlets and journalists were forced to leave for mainland Ukraine. Professional journalists who remained on the peninsula simply left the profession because they could not work under the severe pressure and censorship. All that remains are the federal pro-government media, which function as propagandists and do not give an unbiased picture.
Crimea has actually turned into an information ghetto, where the work of professional media is complicated and dangerous. However, the request for unbiased information still exists, and someone has to talk about repressions and persecution. In such conditions, the citizen journalism emerged. People without any previous professional media experience, took their phones, tablets and started filming and sharing on the Internet the real situation on the peninsula. Very quickly, they became almost the only source of truthful information from the occupied Crimea.
In 2017, I managed to record on my smartphone the moment when the Russian Federal Security Service officers abducted activist Bilyal Adilov. In just a few days, tens of thousands of people watched the abduction video on the Internet. During the filming of the following raids in the house of my compatriots, I was detained and arrested for five days. My tablet was extracted and sent for examination. Together with the journalist Timur Ibragimov and human rights activist Riza Izetov, I was put in the cellar of the Center for Countering Extremism.
In March 2019, the most massive arrests of activists, human rights activists, and journalists of the Crimean Solidarity public association took place. 25 people were detained, including me. At that time, my son was one and a half years old, and my daughter was three and a half.
During detention, I was taken to the forest and beaten until I lost the consciousness.
Most of us are facing up 20 years of imprisonment, while four detainees - even the life sentence. We consider our detention as politically motivated. We oppose the accusations against us. We do not plead guilty, especially in terrorism activity, and we consider it as unacceptable manner.
Throughout the history of the struggle for their rights, the Crimean Tatar people had never resorted to violence. The history of the national movement in exile is a proof. For 30 years, there have been no one terrorist attack or terrorists in Crimea. Islam and terrorism have nothing in common. Islam is against terrorism.
I do not foster any illusions. I understand that Russian courts do not serve justice. Our release is a political matter.
It is important for you to know that we will continue our nonviolent fight for our rights. We are not terrorists.
It is important for you to know about those who continue their civic activity in Crimea. They need your support.
I believe that with your help we could stop Russia’s reprisals in Crimea and release all political prisoners.
I fight for the prosperity of my people and for justice.
I dream to return to my family, to hug my relatives and friends.
I dream about free Crimea with the end to reprisals, and then together we can change our common future for the better.
Citizen journalist, prisoner of conscience