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Mustafa Abdülcemil Qırımoğlu

Mustafa Abdülcemil Qırımoğlu (Cemilev) (born November 13, 1943 Ay-Serez, Crimeamarker), also known as Mustafa Jemilev (Dzhemilev, Cemilev), is Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People and a member of the Ukrainian Parliamentmarker since 1998. He is a recognized leader of the Crimean Tatar National Movement and a former Sovietmarker dissident.


Cemilev was born in Crimeamarker, Ukrainemarker 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 Uzbekistanmarker. 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, Cemilev was arrested six times for anti-Soviet activities and served time in Soviet prisons and labor camps, or lived under surveillance. Cemilev 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 Cemilev the Nansen Medal for his outstanding efforts and "his commitment to the right of return of the Crimean Tatars." In an interview Cemilev 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 parliamentmarker on the Rukh list; in 2002, 2006 and 2007 he was re-elected as a member of Our Ukraine.

Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko stated in October 2009 that a grouping related to Taliban and Al-Qaeda called "At-Taktif val-Khidzhara" had been preparing a life attempt on Dzhemilev (several members of the group where arested).

See also



For more information about Mustafa Cemilev and related links to his interviews and writings, see the Web site of the International Committee for Crimea.

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