Russia: Release journalist and gay human rights activist Ali Feruz

Ali Feruz is a gay human rights activist and a journalist for the independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper in Russia. His work focuses on disability rights, and the rights of refugees and migrants from Central Asia. In 2008, he fled Uzbekistan after he was arrested and tortured by security forces and eventually came to Russia in 2011. Russian authorities repeatedly refused Ali refugee status or temporary asylum, and detained him on August 1, 2017. According to Ali, he was beaten and ill-treated the same day during transfer from the court to detention center. A Moscow court ruled that Ali must be forcibly returned from Russia to Uzbekistan, where he would be at risk of torture and imprisonment for his sexual orientation.

A Russian appeal court suspended his deportation on August 8, pending review of his case by the European Court of Human Rights, but Ali continues to be held in detention and remains at risk. Amnesty International has documented numerous instances of forcible return of individuals from Russia to Uzbekistan, including the abduction and secret rendition of asylum seekers and refugees by security forces. If deported to Uzbekistan, Ali is at risk of serious human rights violations, including torture, and prosecution, including for his sexual orientation. Consensual sexual relations between men is a crime in Uzbekistan.

Call on Russian authorities to immediately release Ali Feruz and protect him from forcible return to Uzbekistan.

Dear Prosecutor General,

I am writing to you to express my deep concern regarding Journalist and Uzabekistani national Khudoberdi Nurmatov (more commonly known as Ali Feruz).

On the 8th of August, the Moscow City Court suspended the deportation of Khudoberdi Nurmatov pending a review of his case by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).

Amnesty International has reported that he will be held in detention in the Special Facility for Temporary Detention of Foreign Citizens (SUVSIG) while his case is being considered by the ECtHR - which could take months or even years.

I call on you to immediately release Khudoberdi Nurmatov, and to take all necessary steps to ensure he is not subjected to secret rendition, or in any other way forcibly returned to Uzbekistan, where he is at risk of prosecution, torture and other ill-treatment, and imprisonment - including for his sexual orientation.

Furthermore , I strongly urge you to promptly and effectively investigate his allegations of ill-treatment during his transfer to the SUVSIG detention centre after his court hearing on 2 August 2017 and to ensure he is protected from torture and ill-treatment.

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Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.


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