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Crimean Tatar leader to receive Poland's inaugural 'Solidarity Prize'

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 03.06.2014 09:23
Leader of the Crimean Tatars Mustafa Dzhemilev will receive the inaugural Solidarity Prize from President Bronislaw Komorowski on Tuesday as Poland marks 25 years since the end of communism.

Mustafa Dzhemilev, leader of the Crimean Tatars. Photo: wikipedia

Mustafa Dzhemilev was banned from entering Russian territory, including the recently annexed Crimea, after he condemned the March referendum over whether the region should join Russia as a federal subject.

On Monday evening Dzhemilev told Polish public television station TVP that the Crimean Tatars would continue to fight for their rights.

“We are not going to wage war against Russia,” he stressed.

“We have not shed anyone's blood,” he added.

“We will fight for our rights with peaceful means.”

Dzhemilev, like the vast majority of Crimean Tatars, was deported from his homeland in 1944, and he grew up in Uzbekistan, where he became involved in dissident activities, which led to his arrest on several occasions.He eventually returned to Crimea in 1989.

“For years, Mustafa Dzhemilev has been promoting democracy and civil rights and civil liberties in Ukraine, specifically among the Tatar community,” Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said.

The presentation of the award by Komorowski also chimes in with the visit of President Barack Obama to Poland, and that of newly chosen Ukrainian leader, President-elect Petro Poroshenko.

“The people of Ukraine made a very good choice, I have known Petro Poroshenko for many years,” said Dzhemilev of the presidential elections of 25 May.

“He is a patriot, an honest man, even though a businessman.

“It is very important for me that he said that the most importan matter is to free Crimea from the occupation.

“Without being released from the occupation, we cannot imagine how we will be able to live on,”he said. (nh)

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