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Imminent likelihood of another illegal expulsion from Russia to Uzbekistan


We have yet to learn whether the European Court of Human Rights has applied Rule 39 halting any expulsion pending review. If it has, then the plans to expel Abdulazhon Isakov from the Tyumen oblast are a flagrant violation of Russia’s international commitments.  In any case, as the report published below shows, there can be no question whatsoever that the planned expulsion is lawful.

On 21 March the Civic Assistance Committee received an appeal from the Tyumen lawyer representing Abdulazhon Isakov (born 1963), who is presently held in Tyumen city prison.  Mr. Isakov was detained on 6 March 6 and prior to March 14 his lawyer was unable to establish where he was being held.

On 14 March the lawyer met with Isakov in jail, where he found no official documents to validate the detention.

That same day, Isakov filed an illegal detention complaint drawn up by his lawyer. When the lawyer visited Isakov again on 21 March, it emerged that the complaint had not reached its due destination.  The lawyer, Mr. Khramov filed the complaint again and left the prison.

In the afternoon of 21 March, Mr. Khramov was unofficially informed by sources in the prison that Isakov was served a ruling on his removal to Uzbekistan.  Isakov was unable to establish whether that removal constitutes expulsion, deportation, or extradition. He was notified that he would be removed as early as 25 March.  Mr. Khramov had no opportunity to meet with his client again, since visiting hours had ended.

Immediately after those events, S.A. Gannushkina from the Civic Assistance Committee and Moscow-based lawyer N. V. Dorina who took out an order to represent Mr. Isakov, forwarded a fax to the European Court of Human Rights, in which they cited Rule 39 of the Court’s procedure to ask that the Court:

-  ask the Russian government to explain the grounds for Mr. Isakov’s detention and why he is being held in Tyumen prison;

-  ask what the grounds are for not recognizing Mr. Isakov a citizen for the Russian Federation.

-  Take preliminary protective steps and stay Mr. Isakov’s removal to Uzbekistan.

On March 23, Mr. Isakov’s wife reported that her husband had managed to call her and to read her the document which, according to prison officials, provides grounds for his removal to Uzbekistan. It transpired that the document is an order for Mr. Isakov’s detention and removal under convoy issued at Namangan Oblast of Uzbekistan by the senior investigator of the prosecutor’s office A. Bobomirzayev and senior legal counsel B.B. Pinhasov. The order alleges Mr. Isakov’s involvement with “vakhabism” religious movement.

It is evident that such an order which is not backed by a legally valid decision from the Russian Federation Prosecutor General’s office  nor consideration for Mr. Isakov’s right of appeal, cannot serve as grounds for Mr. Isakov’s removal.

Unfortunately, lack of legal grounds is no guarantee that Mr. Abdulazhon Isakov will not be removed.

It is known that in October 2005, the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Directorate (GUVD) for Tyumen Oblast  received a letter from his counterpart in the Namangan oblast, of Uzbekistan requesting assistance in finding and holding pending extradition Abdulazhon Isakov, Abdugani Kamaliyev (Tursinov), and Abdulaziz Baymatov.

The letter claimed that those individuals were adherents of an extremist “vakhabi” religious movement who face charges under article 159.4 of Uzbekistan’s Criminal Code (“encroachment on the constitutional order of the Republic of Uzbekistan”).

The letter stated that “should the detention take place, the issue of extradition would be addressed via the Prosecutor General’s offices of Russia and Uzbekistan”.

Yet, in violation of Russian laws and injunctions by the European Court of Human Rights, two of the people named in the letter have already been handed over to the Uzbekistani authorities.

On April 27 2007, Abdulaziz Boymatov was abducted from the premises of Nizhneserginsky district police headquarters (Sverdlovsk oblast), even though in December 2006 Prosecutor General’s office had turned down Uzbekistan’s request for his extradition. All we know about Mr. Baymatov’s subsequent fate is that he was taken into custody immediately upon arrival in Tashkent.

As reported here, Abdugani Kamaliyev (Tursinov) was removed from Tyumen in the early hours of 5 December in violation of a decision from the Court in Strasbourg using Rule 39 to halt his forced return to his country of origin.  On 26 February 2008 Abdugani Kamaliyev was sentenced to 11 years.

Based on the above-said we can assert that there is a strong likelihood of Mr. Abdulazhon Isakov’s unlawful removal to Uzbekistan, especially considering that Russia’s enforcement agencies are ever so willing to provide services of this kind to that country.

Slightly abridged from a report issued by the Civic Assistance Committee

For more information please contact Svetlana Gannushkina, tel.  +7(985)925-91-45.

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