Five years in searching for Ibragimov: Where is Ervin?

Crimean Tatars
Canan Sarıtepe
24 May 2021, 19:00
Canan Sarıtepe
24 May 2021, 19:00

Five years ago today, on May 24, Crimean Tatar activist Ervin Ibragimov was abducted by men in Russian traffic police uniform near his home in Bakhchysarai (Crimea). He has not been seen since, with the Russian occupation regime’s lies and total failure to investigate his disappearance only compounding the suspicion that they know very well what happened to him.

Ibragimov was a member of the Executive Committee of the World Congress of Crimean Tatars and a member of the Bakhychsarai regional Mejlis. He was only 30 when he was kidnapped in occupied Crimea.

Ervin was abducted in Bakhchysarai on May 24, 2016, at about 11:00 pm. His disappearance became known on the morning of May 25, when Ibragimov did not show up for the planned meeting with his friends to travel in the morning of May 25 to the trial of four young men prosecuted for an event in remembrance of the victims of the Crimean Tatar Deportation.

Later, video recording from external surveillance cameras on the building of a store owned by a Crimean Tatar businessman in Bakhchysarai became available. The cameras recorded several unknown persons, presumably in the uniform of the Russian traffic police, forcibly putting Ervin Ibrahimov into a minibus.

The fact that people in the Russian traffic police uniform kidnapped Ervin, is also practically assured, because in the last telephone conversation with his father he asked where the documents were in the car. Despite the spying that Ervin had noticed that time, he did not doubt that representatives of the traffic police were near his car, otherwise, he would warn his father about the danger in a telephone conversation.

After several days of unsuccessful searches, the parents of the kidnapped Ervin Ibragimov announced a large sum of money to be paid for his return. A reward of one million Russian rubles for Ervin’s alive returning was promised.

On June 2 in Bakhchysarai, a local resident found documents of the kidnapped Ervin Ibrahimov, including passport, driver's license and work record book and took them to the police station.

The video, published online June 3, shows a car with persons unknown wearing a traffic police uniform driving out from the water storage a few minutes before the appearance of Ervin Ibragimov's vehicle. Then they stopped his car, searched it and took him to a white Ford Transit van. The young man tried to escape, but two persons forced him into a vehicle and drove away in an unknown direction.

Later the sources in Crimea reported that the Skoda Octavia with the state number 350, registered in the 36th region of the Russian Federation (Voronezh region) was following after the car of the missing Ervin Ibrahimov in Bakhchysarai.

On May 26, 2016, the Prosecutor's Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea initiated criminal proceedings on the disappearance of Ervin Ibragimov.

At the same time, the Kremlin-controlled Prosecutor of the Crimea Natalia Poklonskaya called the abduction of Ibragimov “a provocation aimed at aggression and negativity towards the law enforcement bodies of the republic”. Furthermore, she said that “many of the people abductions that allegedly took place in the Crimea were specially performed for a commotion around the issue of human rights violations”.

Although a criminal case on Ibragimov’s disappearance has been opened in occupied Crimea, the investigation was not carried out.

In connection with the disappearance of Ervin Ibragimov, the World Congress of the Crimean Tatars published an official statement, stressing that this incident is on Russia conscience.