25 March 2004, 17:20
The Condition of Meskhetian Turks in the Krasnodar Territory, January 2004
This review was drawn up by the Human Rights Center Memorial as part of the project titled "Development of mechanisms to counteract ethnic discrimination in the Krasnodar territory"; it is based on monitoring in the region, as well as media coverage.
The Novorossiysk Committee on Human Rights (NCHR) was addressed by Tienshon Svanidze, chairman of the Akhaltsikhe Turks community in the Krasnodar territory. He said three young Meskhetian Turks working that night at the Abinsk bakery were attacked at 10 p.m. on January 16, 2004. Tienshon said the victims were Khasan, b. 1984, resident in Akhtyrskii, and brothers Ravshan and Kavim, b. 1975 and 1979, resident in Kholmskaia. The situation developed fast: ten to twelve thugs, the younger one 13 and the older one 25, came up to the bakery. On the ground that the dog that guarded the bakery was barking at them the thugs began to threaten the Meskhetian Turks working in the bakery. One attacker talked to someone by cell phone at first and got the order to beat, according to the injured guys. They had the Turks out and started the massacre. They beat cruelly, so one guy is at the Kholmskaia hospital to date with his nose bridge broken (struck with a brick) and a concussion of the brain. The guys recognized some attackers. There are great suspicions the same people took part in the attack this time as in the pogrom in Kholmskaia in spring last year, which means involvement of the aggressive part of the Cossacks can be traced obviously, according to Tienshon. Each of the beaten guys lodged a complaint with police.
Some immigration inspection officers in cooperation with internal affairs officers were going round houses in Kievskoe on January 20-22. They wrote out statements of no registration in the Krasnodar territory. They did not seize people's ID, but suggested paying 10 rubles as fine on the spot, according to Sarvar Tedorov, Meskhetian Turks leader in the Krymsk district, Krasnodar territory.
A response to Deputy Internal Affairs Minister Chekalin's statement
Reported by the media, a statement by Colonel-General Alexander Chekalin, Deputy Internal Affairs Minister, that "no Meskhetian Turks problem exists in the Krasnodar territory upon passing of the law on citizenship," caused a strongly negative response on the part of public organizations in the territory working on Meskhetian Turks' problems. Their counter-statement said:
"We would like to say the following on our part. Indeed, about 15,000 Meskhetian Turks live in the Krasnodar territory, and 4,000 of them are Russian citizens. However, only those have official temporary registration in the territory who have received migration cards, about 900 people, and those having permanent registration, about 100 people. About 4,000 really have Russian citizenship, but it was granted by Russia's embassy in Uzbekistan in 1989-91 or in other Russian regions. A few dozens were granted citizenship in the Krasnodar territory. Thus, a total of about 1,000 out of 15,000 people are registered. Nevertheless, this one thousand have huge troubles with registration of their houses and documents for their children and so on and so forth.
Police have resumed large-scale tours round Meskhetian Turks' houses in the Krymsk district, imposing or extorting fines. No case against attackers has been heard. Another beating occurred in Kholmskaia as soon as in January. Courts illegally refuse to hear cases. The Anapa Court's December decision on deportation is just an outrage.
Thousands of addresses by Meskhetian Turks and human rights advocates to various government agencies, including the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the government of the Krasnodar territory, are responded pro forma only and lead to no dialogue. We do not know if Mr. Chekalin has met with Meskhetian Turks himself and on what ground he believes that 'no Meskhetian Turks problem exists in the Krasnodar territory upon passing of the law on citizenship.' The Federal Migration Service knows how to find us and we are always ready to meet, but will there be any meetings?"
The district of Apsheronsk: Khemshilis and Meskhetian Turks
A group of about 15-20 Khemshilis and 20-25 Meskhetian Turks applied on January 7 to the passport office in Kubanskaia for extension of their temporary registration that had expired on January 1. They were told there were no instructions as to their registration, and directed to the regional passport and visa authority in Krasnodar. There, they were told to write applications and wait for the answer. No answer was received as of January 24, 2004. Thus, decision making even on temporary registration of Khemshilis and Meskhetian Turks is carried out at territorial level, regardless of legal grounds, which can be called overt discrimination with regard to representatives of these groups (according to N.R. Shakhnazarian).
An amateur performance cancelled
A personal order of the Krasnodar territory's leadership canceled in the Kuban area performances of an amateur performance group called MEKO and organized at the Akhaltsikhe Turks society in Kazakhstan. Arriving in the Krasnodar territory on January 1, the guests from Kazakhstan planned to perform in the Krymsk and Abinsk districts to make local residents familiar with Akhaltsikhe Turk everyday life and traditions through short comic plays, singing, and dancing, the NCHR said with reference to Tienshon Svanidze. The performances were charitable. The district and territorial culture authorities had not objected to the group's concerts at first, but they were banned immediately after Okhrimenko, a representative of the migration processes monitoring department, personally informed Kuban governor Alexander Tkachiov about MEKO's planned performances in the Krasnodar territory. The guests from Kazakhstan had heartily been welcomed in Rostov-on-Don before their arrival in the Krasnodar territory, according to the same source. Having lost hope for a positive decision by the territorial authorities, MEKO left for the Stavropol territory on January 11 (according to Regnum, the NCHR).
A deportation case hearing
The Krasnodar Territorial Court accepted an appeal against the Anapa Town Court's decision on deportation of two Meskhetian Turks from Russia. There is no legal base to implement the deportation decision, according to Vadim Karastelev, head of the territorial human rights organization Peace School. The decision to deport Luftii and Ridvan Muradovs was forwarded on December 22, 2003, to the Krymsk District Migration Service for implementation. This is the first time in Kuban that a decision on deportation is made with regard to Meskhetian Turks. Local analysts forecast the Territorial Court will not allow the appeal, while possible applications to the European Court of Human Rights are rather ineffective because taking much time.
The case in brief:
Justice Lantukh of the Anapa Court passed a decision on December 16, 2003, on deportation from Russia of Luftii Muguddinovich Muradov, b. 1952, and Ridvan Luftievich Muradov, b. 1972. The Krasnodar territorial public organization Good Deed reported both were Meskhetian Turks, citizens of the former USSR, forced to leave the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic for the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic in 1989, permanently resident in Svet, Varenikovskaia rural circuit, Krymsk district, Krasnodar territory. The case was heard with procedural violations, and those held accountable were deprived of the chance to take part in the hearing and present explanations and proofs of their guiltlessness.