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10.06.2008

Un-sign international conventions or start observing them

   

The civic project “Without borders” is calling on the Ukrainian authorities to either withdraw their signatures from a number of international conventions or start fulfilling their commitments.

Together with other civic organizations they held a demonstration outside the Prosecutor General’s Office on Monday in support of Chechen Lema Susarov.  The young man is under threat of extradition to Russia where many are convinced he could face torture.

As already reported here, Lemma Susarov fled from the Chechen Republic to Azerbaijan at the end of 2005. In 2006 the UNHCR office in Baku declared him a prima facie refugee, issuing him with registration number 6030. Number 6032 was given to Ruslan Yeliyev from the same village. According to Lemma Susarov, the two men lived in the same flat. In the evening of 9 November 2006 Ruslan Yeliyev was abducted. Fearing for his life, Lemma Susarov fled to Ukraine.

At the end of March this year, a Chechen website “Kavkaz Centre” posted a report saying that the mutilated body of Ruslan Yeliyev had been dropped in a sack from what was believed to have been a Russian helicopter near the village he was from. The Ministry of Internal Affairs for the Republic of Ingushetia declared Lemma Susarov wanted. He was accused of an armed robbery of a shop allegedly carried out on 5 February 2004.

The 24-year-old has spent a year already in the Lukyanivsk SIZO [remand centre]. After the Kyiv office of the UNHCR also declared him a mandate refugee, Finland declared its willingness to accept him.  Since then the Ukrainian authorities have turned down his application for asylum and the Prosecutor General has claimed that the extradition is warranted since he is supposedly wanted on criminal charges.

Susarov’s lawyer is appealing and the next hearing on his potential extradition is scheduled for 10 June. 

Human rights groups are convinced that the Susarov case could become a precedent and its result vital for all those seeking asylum in Ukraine. This however is only if the extradition does not take place.

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