Anna Nemtsova reports: Tatars knew Remzi Memetov as a jovial cook who made the best traditional plov, a dish of rice and lamb, in the little Crimean town of Bakhchysarai. Memetov’s cooking was especially popular among Muslims coming to the local mosque to participate in religious festivals.
Nobody in the town’s sizeable Tatar community would have imagined that their favorite chef would be accused of terrorism.
At 6 a.m. the morning of May 12, the Memetov family heard a knock at the door of their house on Lazurnaya Avenue. The voice outside said: ”Open up, this is the Federal Security Service.”
The visitors were two FSB investigators, two official witnesses, who the FSB invited to be present while they searched the house, a camerawoman, and several people who did not identify themselves.
After a few questions, they looked through all the rooms in the house, confiscating a few religious books and a few CDs. As the investigators were taking Remzi Memetov away, his neighbors gathered around the FSB officers to ask why they were arresting a friendly cook everybody loved. An official said Memetov would just be away a few minutes, just enough to sign a few papers.
“Shame, Shame!” people chanted. And soon their worst expectations came: Memetovs wife and two adult sons learned he was accused of participating in terrorist activities as a part the Islamic movement Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is banned in Russia. He was accused together with three more neighbors, who were arrested the same day. One of them, Enver Mammoth, had seven little children.
Soon after Moscow annexed what had been Ukrainian Crimea in 2014, Russian security agencies began to crack down on Muslims there, and after many arrests they knew only too well what happened when the FSB detained one of them. [Continue reading…]