April 30 is the birthday of political prisoner, master of sports in taekwondo, champion of Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Europe, representative of the indigenous Crimean Tatar people Uzeyir Abdullayev. He is celebrating his 49th birthday behind bars in a penal colony in the Republic of Bashkortostan.
Uzeyir Abdullayev has been coaching athletes for almost 20 years. First, in Baku, where he was born, and after his family moved to Crimea in the 90s, in Simferopol. In Crimea, Uzeyir got married, and he and his wife Fera had four children. The man was active in public life and supported the Crimeans persecuted by the occupiers, in particular, he constantly visited them during criminal raids and searches conducted by Russian security forces.
At dawn on October 12, 2016, a detachment of occupation special forces broke into Abdullayev’s house in the village of Strohonovka near Simferopol with a “search”. Uzeyir was arrested along with his brother Teymur and four other Crimean Tatars and accused of allegedly having ties to the Hizb ut-Tahrir organization. Two months after his detention, it was reported that Uzeyir was being tortured. In 2019, the occupiers sentenced him to 12 years and six months in a strict regime colony.
Due to the terrible conditions of detention in the Simferopol Detention Center, Uzeyir suffered a serious illness and surgery. Subsequently, in the Russian colony in Bashkortostan, Uzeyir was diagnosed with other diseases, also related to inadequate conditions of detention. In addition, the man suffers from chronic illnesses that are only exacerbated in prison.
“Uzeyir’s youngest daughter was one year and two months old when her father was arrested, and most likely she does not remember him. But since we talk about Uzeyir all the time, she knows him – from photos and from our words – and she is also waiting for him. When we eat something delicious, she always says: “We should leave it for dad so he can taste it,” says Uzeyir’s wife Fera.
On Uzeyir Abdullayev’s birthday, we urge you to join the initiative “Letters to a free Crimea”, which lasts until May 27, and write personally to Uzeyir and other Crimean political prisoners. This will be an important support for the prisoners and will show that Ukrainians remember them and are fighting for their release.
We will pass your letters to them. Read how to write them here