On the morning of November 2, Russian Investigation Committee in Crimea began searches in the homes of former employees of the Crimean Tatar TV Channel ATR in the frame of initiated criminal case against Lenur Islyamov, the owner of the channel.
The searches began in the homes of ex-editor of the channel ATR Lilya Budzhurova, former ATR CEO Elzara Islyamova and in Lenur Islyamov’s parents’ house, KrymRealii reports.
Lilya Budzhurova is a well known Crimean journalist, former chief editor of the newspaper “First Crimea”, the author of the reports on the life of Crimean Tatars, host of the popular talk show “Gravity ” on ATR.
Lilya Budzhurova told about the events of November 2 in an interview to Radio Svoboda, Joinfo.ua reports with reference to KrymRealii.
She said: “It was about 5:40 in the morning. There came 21 men, representatives of the Federal Security Service (FSB) – the appropriate letters were written on the backs of their costumes. Probably, more than a third of them were armed, in battle gear with guns, wearing masks. My sister, my granddaughter and my elderly mother live with me in the house. I have been introduced to the decision on criminal proceeding against the owner of the TV channel ATR, on which I had worked. ATR Channel was closed on March 31. We did not receive a license from Roskomnadzor, and within the framework of criminal proceeding against Islyamov, the court, for some reason, decided to conduct a search of my house “for the search of incriminating documents on the financing of extremist activity.” I asked not to begin a search and investigative procedures without my lawyer’s presence, but they were initiated, and my lawyer was not allowed, he stood outside the gates, armed men did not let him, so he was beside me.”
“Then the search began,” – Lilya continued. – “They searched everything from underwear to my granddaughter’s toys.”
“We could go through everything except the stress that my mother, who is 83, had and my granddaughter, who is only 8 years old. The child was very frightened, big men with guns were in every room. I walked her past the men with guns, and she asked: “Will they shoot at us?”, – Lilya said.
She told that the armed men woke them up, because at 5:49 in the morning they were still asleep. 21 men came with automated guns against women.
Lilya said, that she was surprised that they did not bring the involve the heavy artillery.
She also said, that during the search the FSB took all the gadgets, laptop, iPads, girl’s tablet -although returned it later, seeing that there was nothing but games. They also took out cell phones, flash drives, CDs, old videotapes, Lilya’s entire video archive.
Lilya told, that does not even know her status in the case. She guessed, whether she was suspected as “an accomplice of terrorists, as a manufacturer of a “dirty bomb”, as a journalist” – unclear. She said that she has no relations with Lenur Islyamov, because there is no the ATR channel in the Crimea any more.
She stressed that, even in these circumstances, she is not going to leave Crimea, because Crimean Tatars have lived in exile for half a century. “I know what it is – to live without a homeland”, – said Lilya Budzhurova.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine has opened two criminal proceedings “on the fact of violation of the rights of citizens of Crimea”, relating to searches at the homes of Lenur Islyamov, the owner of the TV Channel ATR; and former employees of the channel. Also, the proceedings are related to obstruction of the lawful activities of public organizations, that oppose the occupation of Crimea.
It should be recalled that on October 30, at the 70th UN General Assembly session was pronounced Joint Statement of 36 countries on the situation with human rights temporarily occupied the Crimea, initiated by Ukraine.
It should be recalled that on 1 April 2015 the world’s only Crimean Tatar channel ATR stopped broadcasting in the territory of the annexed peninsula, because it did not receive a license from Russian authorities. From June 17, 2015 TV channels ATR and LALE resumed broadcasting via satellite and the Internet from Kiev.
Now Islyamov lives on the mainland of Ukraine. He was one of the main initiators of the civil blockade of Crimea, launched on 20 September.
Islyamov believes that this criminal case is a reaction to the anti-Kremlin stance and blockade of Crimea. He called it “planned attack on him and his business”, commenting to the edition.
“We already had the information that they are preparing a large-scale offensive, and they started it on all fronts. Now they will try to raid all the business. They have withdrawn the license of my bank in Moscow, which is in the Crimea as well. Now they will press all contact with me. Then they will frame me as an international terrorist “, – he said.
Islyamov believes that it is “a revenge for not accepting Putin’s game rules in Crimea.”