Russia: Court halts journalist’s deportation to Uzbekistan but detains him despite abuse claims

In response to Moscow City Court’s decision to suspend the deportation to Uzbekistan of openly gay journalist Khudoberdi Nurmatov (better known by his journalist alias Ali Feruz) but to keep him in detention while his case is reviewed by the European Court of Human Rights, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia, Denis Krivosheev, said:
“The suspension of Ali Feruz’s deportation to Uzbekistan – where he faces a real risk of persecution and torture and homosexuality is a crime – is a positive step. However, his continued detention despite his claims he has been beaten is disgraceful. He has committed absolutely no crime and it could take months or even years before a final decision by the European Court of Human Rights.”
“Ali Feruz complained that security officials beat him during transfer to the detention centre and showed bruises during today’s court hearing. The judge decided to ignore these shocking allegations.”
“The Russian authorities must immediately release Ali Feruz. They must ensure his physical safety and effective protection from forcible return to Uzbekistan.”
Moscow City Court reversed a judgment to forcibly return Ali Feruz from Russia to Uzbekistan on Tuesday 8 August. However, it ruled he must remain in detention pending a review of his case by the European Court of Human Rights.
Immigration-related detention should always be used only as a last resort, for the shortest time possible and only when necessary and proportionate to the objective of preventing absconding, to verify identity or ensure compliance with a deportation order.
Ali Feruz, a human rights activist and a journalist for independent Novaya Gazeta, was detained on 1 August. He says he was beaten during transfer from the court.
For more information: Russia: Decision to deport journalist to Uzbekistan puts him at risk of persecution and torture