Have the Ukrainian authorities decided to hand asylum seekers over en masse to their Uzbek “colleagues”?
Over the last two weeks two asylum seekers from Uzbekistan have been detained by the enforcement bodies. They are being held in custody to begin the procedure for handing them over to those from whom they once managed to flee – the Uzbekistan punitive structures. Other Uzbek asylum seekers have been informally warned that they’re next in line for extradition.
The “No Borders” Project of the Social Action Centre reminds the authorities that any attempt to hand the asylum seekers over to their country of origin would be a crime since it violates a number of Ukraine’s laws and international conventions. The detained men must be released, and attempts to persecute those who succeeded in escaping repression in their home country stopped.
In the morning of 15 June 2010, asylum seeker from Uzbekistan, Umid Khamroyev, was arrested at his home by Ukrainian enforcement officers who did not present any identification or documents justifying his detention, and did not indicate where he was being taken or for how long.
Two days later the Irpin City Court of the Kyiv region ruled that he be held in custody as he is sought by the Uzbekistan enforcement agencies. On 24 June the same court decided to hold Umid Khamroyev in custody for 40 days. Shortly before his arrest, Khamroyev had had his application for refugee status rejected on the grounds that he supposedly had no grounds to fear persecution.
Umid Khamroyev is still going through the procedure for appealing against the rejection of his application for refugee status. He is also wanted in Uzbekistan on charges under Articles of the Criminal Code most often used against political dissidents and members of independent Muslim societies.
Following Khamroyev’s arrest, the “No Borders” Project received informal information suggesting that other asylum seekers from Uzbekistan declared wanted by the Uzbek bodies of repression could face extradition.
In the morning of 29 June 2010 enforcement officers also appeared at the home of asylum seeker Kosim Dadakhanov and took him into custody as having been declared wanted by Uzbekistan. He was also not shown the documents justifying his detention. Dadakhanov is presently awaiting a court hearing which will determine whether he remains in custody pending a decision regarding extradition.
That same day other asylum seekers informed the “No Borders” Project that they had received unofficial warnings that further detentions were planned in order to extradite those who managed to flee from persecution in Uzbekistan.
The previous attempt to extradite an asylum seeker to Uzbekistan was made by the Ukrainian authorities in December 2008 (cf. khpg.org/index.php?id=1229619828) The court then released him from custody ruling that an asylum seeker fleeing persecution and with grounds for fearing persecution in his country of origin should not be held in custody. A year and a half passed from that time to the arrest of Umid Khamroyev. A mere two weeks separate the arrests of Khamroyev and Kosim Dadakhanov.
Neither Khamirov nor Dadakhanov, nor any of the other asylum seekers from Uzbekistan conceal the fact that they are wanted by the Uzbekistan authorities – that is the reason they have applied for refugee status. Nor have they made a secret of where they are living, or tried to hide from the Ukrainian authorities. Up till June 2010 information about their whereabouts did not in any way prompt the enforcement agencies to detain them although they have throughout been wanted by the Uzbekistan authorities. In the light of the above facts, the “No Borders” Project is concerned that such unwarranted detentions may reflect a political decision – to hand over to the Uzbekistan bodies of repression those who had succeeded in fleeing from them.
The t “No Borders” Project stresses that:
Extradition procedure in relation to asylum seekers (especially to those countries they could face torture) is an offence involving violation of a number of Ukrainian laws, in particular, the Law on Refugees, international conventions which are a part of domestic legislation (the UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees; the UN Convention against Torture; the European Convention on Human Rights).
Extradition to Uzbekistan has been directly deemed unlawful in judgments of the European Court of Human Rights since it entails the danger that torture will be applied. These judgments are a source of law in Ukraine according to domestic legislation.
since the above-listed circumstances preclude extradition of Uzbek asylum seekers, they must be immediately released from custody on the basis of Article 461 § 6.2 of the Criminal Procedure Code. The continued detention of Khamroyev and Dadakhanov is unlawful.
No political interests can justify dooming people to torture.
The persecution of asylum seekers must be stopped and those detained – released.
For more information, please contact:
Maxim Butkevych +380-50-334-8780
Iryna Fedorovych +380-50-528-8614