Today Mustafa Jemilev marks his 70th birthday

13 November 2013 12:33
SIMFEROPOL (QHA) - Today, November 13, the leader of the Crimean Tatar people, ex-head of Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, MP of Ukraine, Soviet dissident and human rights activist Mustafa Jemilev celebrates his 70th birthday. Mustafa Jemilev will be accepting greetings at the conference room of ‘Marakand’ complex in Simferopol. Note: Mustafa Jemilev is People’s Deputy of Ukraine of III (1998-2002), IV (2002-2006), V (2006-2007), VI (2007 - 2012) and VII (from 2012) convocations. He is a member of Ukrainian Parliament’s committee on human rights, national minorities and interethnic relations. He is the head of sub-committee on ethnic policy, the rights of indigenous peoples, national minorities of Ukraine and victims of political repressions. Mustafa Jemilev was head of Mejlis of Crimean Tatar people from 1991 till 2013. He is world-famous human rights activist, co-founder and member of the initiative group on human rights protection in USSR (1969). Political prisoner in the Soviet Union: 1966 - 1967, 1969 - 1972, 1974 - 1975, 1975 - 1976, 1979 - 1982, 1983 - 1986. Mustafa Jemilev was born in Ay-Serez, Crimea, then Russian SFSR, on November 13, 1943. He was only six months old when his family, with the rest of the Crimean Tatar population, was deported by Soviet authorities in May 1944. He grew up in exile, in Uzbekistan. At the age of 18, he and several of his activist friends established the Union of Young Crimean Tatars. He thus began the arduous and long struggle for the recognition of the rights of Crimean Tatars to return to their homeland. Between 1966 and 1986, Jemilev was arrested six times for anti-Soviet activities and served time in Soviet prisons and labor camps, or lived under surveillance. Jemilev is also remembered for going on the longest hunger strike in the history of human rights movements. The hunger strike lasted for 303 days, but he survived due to forced feeding. In May 1989, he was elected to head the newly founded Crimean Tatar National Movement. The same year he returned to Crimea with his family, a move that would be followed by the eventual return of 250,000 Tatars to their homeland. In October 1998, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees awarded Jemilev the Nansen Medal for his outstanding efforts and "his commitment to the right of return of the Crimean Tatars." In an interview Jemilev gave shortly after receiving the Nansen Medal, he emphasized that "when violent means are used, innocent people die, and no just cause can justify the taking of innocent lives." The Crimean Tatar National Movement has been marked by persistent reliance on non-violence. During the Ukrainian parliamentary election, 1998 he was elected into the Ukrainian parliament on the Rukh list; in 2002, 2006 and 2007 he was re-elected as a member of Our Ukraine. In June 1991, at the firstly convened since 1917 national convention of the Crimean Tatars- Kurultay, he was elected Head of Mejlis of Crimean Tatar people. Being the leader of Crimean Tatar national movement Jemilev was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 and 2011. In 2013 Jemilev left the post of the Head of Mejlis of Crimean Tatar people.