Urgent Action Victory! – Activist Released and Given Deportation Reprieve (Russian Federation: UA 61.17)

On 15 February, Ali Feruz was released and arrived in Germany a few hours later. The release came after the Supreme Court’s decision on 25 January to uphold the activist’s appeal and overturn the 2017 decision to deport him to Uzbekistan. Ali Feruz had been detained since August 2017 for supposedly violating the terms of his stay in Russia.

On the morning of 15 February, Novaya Gazeta journalist and Amnesty International activist, Ali Feruz (born Khudoberdi Nurmatov) was taken to Sheremetyevo airport, in Moscow, under police escort, where he boarded a plane at 11:20am to Frankfurt, Germany. On 20 February, it was reported that he received a refugee status.

On 22 January, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation rescinded an earlier decision to extradite Ali Feruz to Uzbekistan and two days later, upheld the activist’s appeal, overturning the 2017 decision by a lower court to deport him to Uzbekistan. In its decision, the Supreme Court noted that the detention of a foreign national pending expulsion from Russia “should not be understood as grounds for detaining them for an indefinite period”. The Court sent the case back for consideration to the Moscow City Court. On 2 February, the Moscow City Court granted Ali Feruz permission to leave Russia for a third country, taking into consideration the fact that he had had a travel document from the International Committee of the Red Cross and a German visa allowing travel to Germany.

Ali Feruz told Amnesty International on 6 March that he is still adapting to life in Germany. His plans are to continue his work of activism and journalism. He says he does not plan to take a long break, as he hopes to be useful in a rapidly changing world. He holds that Amnesty International’s campaign, with others, played a crucial role in his release and is grateful for the support.

Ali Feruz was arrested and detained in Moscow in August 2017, for supposedly violating the terms of stay on the territory of the Russian Federation. On 21 November 2017, the Basmannyi Court of Moscow found him guilty, and ruled that he should be deported back to his home country. Ali Feruz fled Uzbekistan in 2009 after allegedly being detained and tortured by the Uzbek security services, who attempted to make him their secret informant.

Thank you to all those who sent appeals. No further action is requested from the UA network.