Russias Prosecutor General plans to extradite an Andijan refugee
On 25 September Andijan refugee Abdumutallib Karimov, remanded in custody in SIZO-1 [remand centre] in Yoshkar-oly following a request from the Uzbekistan authorities for his extradition, was informed that the Prosecutor General had decided to extradite him to Uzbekistan. The relevant resolution, dated 18.09.2008, was signed by the Deputy Prosecutor General Y.P. Zabarchuk.
On 1 August this year the Federal Migration Service Department in the Republic of Mariy El refused to consider his application for refugee status in the Russian Federation. Karimov appealed against the refusal to a higher body – the Federal Migration Service of Russia and has still not received a reply.
Nor has the three-month period stipulated by Russian legislation for a judicial appeal against a negative answer from the migration service elapsed.
Mr Zabarchuk has thus clearly been in too much haste since Karimov has yet to exhaust his right to apply for refugee status in Russia, and the extradition of asylum seekers is prohibited by both Russian and international legal norms.
Furthermore the Russian Federation General Prosecutors Office has yet again ignored the demands of the European Convention, the UN Convention against Torture and other international norms which categorically ban the extradition of people to countries where they could face the threat of torture.
In April this year the European Court of Human Rights passed a judgment in favour of the claimants in the case of the “Ivanovo Uzbeks” whom the Uzbekistan authorities were also accusing of involvement in the Andijan uprising in May 2005. The Court found that “the applicants forcible return to Uzbekistan would give rise to a violation of Article 3 as they would face a serious risk of being subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment there”.
The Court also noted that it “is not convinced by the Government argument that they had an obligation under international law to cooperate in fighting terrorism and had a duty to extradite the applicants who were accused of terrorist activities, irrespective of a threat of ill-treatment in the receiving country”
Karimovs lawyer is planning to lodge an appeal against the Prosecutor Generals decision.
Abdumutallib Karimov happened to witness the shooting by government forces of an Andijan rally in May 2005 and was detained in Yoshkar-Oly on 11 June 2008.
In Uzbekistan Karimov worked in a food store in a village 40 kilometres from Andijan. On the morning of 13 May he went to Andijan to collect goods, heard that there was a rally going on and that they were expecting the arrival of President Islam Karimov. Abdumutallib went to the square, where during the shooting he managed to break free of the crowd and later flee the country, fearing persecution suffered by many witnesses of the Andijan Massacre. He went to Yoshkar-oly where his brother was living. His wife, son and daughter remain in Uzbekistan.
Civic Assistance Committee