Ali Feruz has been released!
The journalist, asylum seeker and Amnesty International activist Ali Feruz has been released on February 2 following a court decision in Moscow that determined that he was able to leave Russia for a third country. Ali is currently on his way to Germany.
On 15 February 2018, Ali Feruz was released and arrived in Germany a few hours later. The release came after the Supreme Court’s decision on 25 January to uphold the activist’s appeal and overturn the 2017 decision to deport him to Uzbekistan. Ali Feruz had been detained since August 2017 for supposedly violating the terms of his stay in Russia.
On the morning of 15 February, Novaya Gazeta journalist and Amnesty International activist, Ali Feruz (born Khudoberdi Nurmatov) was taken to Sheremetyevo airport, in Moscow, under police escort, where he boarded a plane at 11:20am to Frankfurt, Germany. On 20 February, it was reported that he received a refugee status.
On 22 January, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation rescinded an earlier decision to extradite Ali Feruz to Uzbekistan and two days later, upheld the activist’s appeal, overturning the 2017 decision by a lower court to deport him to Uzbekistan. In its decision, the Supreme Court noted that the detention of a foreign national pending expulsion from Russia “should not be understood as grounds for detaining them for an indefinite period”. The Court sent the case back for consideration to the Moscow City Court. On 2 February, the Moscow City Court granted Ali Feruz permission to leave Russia for a third country, taking into consideration the fact that he had had a travel document from the International Committee of the Red Cross and a German visa allowing travel to Germany.
Ali Feruz told Amnesty International on 6 March that he is still adapting to life in Germany. His plans are to continue his work of activism and journalism. He says he does not plan to take a long break, as he hopes to be useful in a rapidly changing world. He holds that Amnesty International’s campaign, with others, played a crucial role in his release and is grateful for the support.
Ali Feruz was arrested and detained in Moscow in August 2017, for supposedly violating the terms of stay on the territory of the Russian Federation. On 21 November 2017, the Basmannyi Court of Moscow found him guilty, and ruled that he should be deported back to his home country. Ali Feruz fled Uzbekistan in 2009 after allegedly being detained and tortured by the Uzbek security services, who attempted to make him their secret informant.
Amnesty supporters around the world urged Russian authorities for the immediate release of Ali Feruz, ensuring that he was not deported to a country where he was going be at real risk of torture.
Thank you to the thousands of activists across Canada who continued to support the case and took action!
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Khudoberdi Turgunalievich Nurmatov, born February 1986, writes for the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta under the pseudonym Ali Feruz, covering issues that include disability rights, and the rights of refugees and migrants from Central Asia. He was born in Uzbekistan and spent his childhood in both Uzbekistan and Russia. According to Khudoberdi Nurmatov, he was forced to flee Uzbekistan in 2008 after he was detained and tortured by officers of the Uzbekistani National Security Service for refusing to be their secret informant.
Khudoberdi Nurmatov was arrested and detained on 1 August 2017 in Moscow and accused, under part 3.1 of Article 18.8 of the Russian Code of Administrative Violations, of “violation of the rules of entry or stay in the Russian Federation by a foreign citizen”. On the same day, he was taken to Basmannyi Court in Moscow. The judge issued Khudoberdi Nurmatov a 5,000 rouble (USD 80) fine and ruled that he must be forcibly returned to Uzbekistan. The journalist was taken from the court room to a deportation centre in Moscow where he is currently detained.
On 16 March 2017, Khudoberdi Nurmatov was detained by police and wrongly accused of violating Russia’s immigration regulations. At that time, Khudoberdi Nurmatov’s application for temporary asylum in Russia was still under consideration. He was released as he had the right to be in Russia until a decision was taken on his status and all appeal options exhausted. Later, the journalist learnt that his asylum application had been refused. He filed an appeal against the decision before the Zamoskvoretsky district court in Moscow. The court refused to consider the appeal, but failed to notify Khudoberdi Nurmatov. Khudoberdi Nurmatov only learnt the court’s dismissal of his appeal from the police at his hearing on 1 August.
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