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Minister of Interior Gérald Darmanin
Ministry of the Interior
Place Beauvau75800 Paris Cedex 08, France
Fax: +33 (0)1 40 07 29 91
Email: [email protected] [email protected]
Ambassador Philippe Etienne
Embassy of France
4101 Reservoir Road NW, Washington DC 20007
Phone: 202 944 6000
Contact form: https://bit.ly/2QbKqkv
Salutation: Dear Ambassador
Dear Minister Darmanin,
A.S. (name withheld for privacy reasons) is a Chechen man who has been living in France for over 10 years, having obtained refugee status in 2009. On 27 July 2016, the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA) revoked his refugee status based on national security grounds. His residence permit, linked to his refugee status, was valid until 2020. An application to renew the permit, on the basis of professional or family integration, was denied. Subsequently, A.S. received a deportation decision on 15 January 2021 and is currently being held in an immigration detention center.
A.S.’s asylum application was denied on 12 February 2021 by the French authorities. He also filed an application for interim measures to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), which has suspended its decision and requested further proof of the imminence of the deportation. The French authorities informed the ECtHR that the deportation will happen on 26 February, putting A.S. at imminent risk of forcible return and at real risk of torture and other ill-treatment. Procedural safeguards, such as a right to an in-country appeal before deportation, are crucial to guarantee fairness, protect against the risk of refoulment and avoid arbitrariness.
Amnesty International receives regular reports of enforced disappearances, torture and other ill-treatment from the North Caucasus, and specifically Chechnya, and has documented a number of such cases over the past years. The use of torture is frequent, persistent and widespread in Chechnya and across the Russian Federation.
In France, A.S. lives with his family, including his five children, wife and father who are all refugees. He has no criminal record in France and has never been investigated, charged or prosecuted for any terrorism-related offense. His refugee status was stripped on the basis that he knew another Chechen man who had his refugee status revoked on national security grounds. I urge you to comply with your obligations under international human rights law and standards including Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights and halt the deportation of A.S. to a place where he would be at real risk of torture and other ill-treatment and release him, so he can pursue his right to seek asylum.