SIMFEROPOL/AQMESCIT (QHA) -

“Authorities in Russian-occupied Crimea claim that the number of missing Crimean Tatars is at an all time low,” Krym Media quotes Lyudmila Lubina, Ombudsman for Human Rights in Crimea, as saying at a press-conference in Simferopol.

According to her, the number of people who have lost touch with their relatives is on the rise. As last year’s statistic data suggest, Crimean Tatars account for the lowest number of missing individuals among all major nationalities living in Crimea.

As of January 15, 2015, 119 Russians were missing and 136 Russians lost touch with their relatives, Lubina reports. Last year, 24 Ukrainians were missing and 18 persons lost touch with relatives. Over the same period, 13 Crimean Tatars were missing and 10 Crimean Tatars lost touch with their relatives, law enforcement authorities report.

On September 27, 2014, unidentified and uniformed individuals dragged two young Crimean Tatars, residents of Sary-Su, into a minivan and took them away to an undisclosed location. The two kidnapped men have been unaccounted for ever since.

There have been other cases reported of Crimean Tatars going missing in Crimea. Those on the missing list include Timur Shaimardanov, Seyran Zinedinov, Edem Asanov, Eskender Apselyamov, the first-year students Bilyal Bilyalov and Artem Dayarabekov. Eden Asanov was found hanged in a disused recreational facility in Evpatoria. Bilyal Bilyalov’s body was found in Simferopol in Sevastopolskaya Street the next day after his disappearance. Official cause of death was intoxication caused by inhalation of smoking mixtures (the so-called ‘spice’).However, there are reasons to believe that he died a violent death.

Earlier on, Reshat Ametov, who participated in peaceful protests, was kidnapped and killed in March 2015.

QHA