New Slavery Victims in Golyanovo

Nesebeli got trapped in the grocery shop the same way other victims did – when she was living in Kazakhstan she was offered a good job with stable paychecks in Moscow. In May 2016 Nesibeli arrived in the city where she was met by acquaintances of Zhansulu Istanbekova, the grocery shop owner.

They said I would be working with vegetables and promised 30 thousand rubles as paycheck. Instead of answering my other questions they told me to go and not talk too much. The same day they took away my phone, Zhansulu said to put all belongings on the table or I would lose them. She told me she would give everything back later when I needed. I handed everything over to her – a touch-screen phone and a regular phone, the ID I came with. They took all my things, the whole suitcase, and told me to keep just one outfit. I didn’t have anything else left with me. I started working in the vegetable section without weekends.

Nesibeli got her phone back once a month so that she could talk to her mother, in the presence of the shop owner and only on speakerphone. Zhansulu watched the salves closely to make sure they didn’t complain to their relatives. Customers tried to warn Nesibeli about the shop, told her that it was dangerous there and that people were kept as slaves and beaten.

At first I didn’t believe any of those words but it changed after a while. We slept inside the shop, had old frozen bread and water instead of regular food and shurpa. We had to eat quickly. We were constantly beaten. Zhansulu did it herself. There is also Beka, the owner’s right hand.  She beats people too if Zhansulu orders her to. In the evening or at night Zhansulu makes everyone drink the cheapest and worst vodka.

Nesibeli ran away for the first time on September 17th. That day some workers were loading melons at the back entrance. Nesibeli ran out into the street as if to throw out rubbish. She hid in a café nearby for a few days, cleaning the place and washing the dishes, then decided to head to the “Sadovod” market. When she called her mother, the latter told her that Zhansulu was accusing Nesibeli of theft and threatening to go to court.

Nesibeli was quickly found at the market, Zhansulu contacted her. She tried to talk Nesibeli into coming back, promised that everything would be alright and that she would pay all that Nesibeli had earned. Zhansulu even resorted to threats, said she had put out an alert for Nesibeli since she had “no documents on her”.

She said she would reach me anywhere, said she had connections in the police and she could solve anything with money. I was scared, I had no choice, they would have found me and taken me away anyway. I came back on October 18th. At first they treated me okay but then they started beating me even harder. When it started snowing I got sick because of the open windows, got down with bad flu. Customers kept shouting at her to give me some warm clothes, kept asking her whether she felt sorry for me at all. I asked a lot of people to help me but they were all afraid of acting against Zhansulu.

They told me I could go back home in January,asked me to stay patient a little longer. In the evening they would pour us bad vodka, I sometimes forgot my name. You drink and fall asleep, you forget everything. On the night of December 5th I ran away again.

That day Nesibeli was beaten harder than usual, her face turned into a bruise, her arm was roughly injured near the shoulder. They threatened her with a knife so that she wouldn’t shout.

One day one of the customers left me her phone number in case I needed help. I asked her to come help me escape. She told me to go out into the the street where she later picked me up. As I was getting inside her car another car drove out to search for me. The woman dropped me near a subway station, I got out of the car. A girl was coming up from the station, I took her hand and asked her tearfully to help me or I would be killed. The girl promised to help me, hugged me and took me inside to her apartment entrance. I spent the whole day there, the girl brought me food. Then I asked her to help me find an organization that helps people escape slavery.

The girl who helped Nesibeli contacted the anti-slavery “Alternativa” movement. Their leader Oleg Melnikov came for Nesibeli almost right away, found a room for her, gave her clothes and food. The first day Nesibeli was taken to a first-aid station to have the injuries inspected and noted down. Members of the movement also collected money to help Nesibeli go back to Kazakhstan. On December 27th she filed a complaint with the emergency dispatcher of The Main Department of Internal Affairs of the city of Moscow.

The Civic Assistance Committee will be helping the victim together with “Memorial”. “We will be trying to initiate legal proceedings on grounds of bodily injuries”, says Gulnara Bobodzhanova, the lawyer. “I will be contacting the emergency dispatcher to inquire about the status of Nesibeli’s complaint. We are also planning to file a suit for recovering unpaid wages during her time in the shop”. Nesibeli’s complaint might be added to other victims’ claims in the European Court of Human Rights.

There are several stores like that in Moscow, all owned by the Istanbekov sisters – Sholpan, Zhanar and Zhansulu. The stores have been operating for 13 years now. All this time the owners have been keeping employees as slaves inflicting serious bodily injuries on them. All four women who came to “Civic assistance” for help earlier were raped in the stores. Three of them gave birth, one had abortion under the supervision of the owners’ daughter.

During inspections all slaves were kept in the warehouse or given someone else’s documents. Store owners were never prosecuted in Russia. A major joint campaign ran by “Civic Assistance” and “Amnesty International Swedish Section” which collected 5 000 signatures requesting the initiation of a criminal case didn’t succeed. Unlike in Russia, a criminal case was opened up in Kazakhstan. Our colleagues from the non-governmental organizations “Sana Sezim” told us that Zhanar Istanbekova changed her ID and became Omarova Saule Inkarovna. She was probably trying to escape prosecution in Russia this way.

Elena Srapyan, Civic Assistance Committee

Court Awards Million to Migrant Workers

Several years ago, when we started to help migrants in the resolution of labour conflicts, it became clear that the rampant problem of non-payment of salaries will be solved only when migrants refuse to start work without signing a contract of labour. We therefore produced a leaflet with the title: “Don’t work without a contract!” Since then we are always conscious of the veracity of this.

In June a brigade of labour migrants from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan appealed to Civic Assistance Committee. They were employed by the company SK Invest Story working on the construction of the luxury residential complex “Garden Quarter” near Frunzenskaya metro.

All nine migrants were officially enrolled to work for SK Invest Story through a labour agreement. In October 2015 problems started with the payment of wages. First they weren’t fully paid and from January 2016 payment stopped completely.

The company’s management cited the lack of funding. However, the brigade got in contact with the general contractor for the project, the Austrian conglomerate Strabag, and ascertained that the found that the funds for SK Invest Stroy were transferred regularly.

When the migrants came to Civic Assistance Committee they didn’t even have the means to eat.  The Committee provided them with financial help and got in contact with a lawyer from the group ‘Migration and Law Memorial’, Illarion Vasilev, for the protection of their rights in the labour dispute. The lawyer put together a case for them and represented them a session of the Simonovsky district court of Moscow which took place on 28 July 2016.

Judge P.V Vershinin fully satisfied the demands of the claimants and obliged the firm to pay the workers not only what they were owed for their labour but also to compensate for the morale harm. The total sum amounts to 1.24 million roubles.

At the trial the judge complained that there are too many of these cases, the representatives of the firm often don’t come and after it turns out that the firm has finished the work has been liquidated – no one can collect their debts. So now it is necessary to firmly enforce court decisions.

“Of course we have already had positive court decisions on the non-payment of wages, but to successfully sue for such a large sum rarely happens. This is a great success. Unfortunately, many migrants who turn to Civic Assistance Committee already have passed the deadline to appeal to the court and can no longer do so. But on the occasions when they consult us within the deadline, especially when the migrants have a signed work agreement we more often than not win – as happened this time” – explains Varvara Tretyak, project coordinator of assistance to migrant workers.

Unfortunately, the migrants themselves rarely refuse to work without a contract and fall into the plight, when proving the completion of labour on the basis of oral agreements is impossible.

 

By Elena Srapyan, Elena Burtina,  Civic Assistance Committee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Administrative Expulsion from Russia: Court Proceedings or Mass Expulsion?

Over the past few years Russian courts are arduously expelling migrants from the country, generally in flagrant violation of procedures and other norms. In Moscow, this process turned into a real avalanche. Thus, in 2015 district courts have issued more than 58 thousand expulsion decisions under Articles 18.8 and 18.10 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation. Such cases took more than 80% of the total number of administrative cases in district courts. The average consideration of such case lasts from three to five minutes, as a result creating champion judges, who manage to expell up to hundred people within one working day.

Сhertanovskiy district court turned out to be the absolute leader on the nember of cases. According to the data of official website of the court, for the first six months of 2015 the court considered more than 2500 cases  under Articles 18.8 and 18.10 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation. About 90% of these cases were considered by one judge, namely, Andrey Vasiliyev. On average, some 22 administrative cases of foreign citizens were considered in this court every day.

We paid attention to numerous cases, when a foreigner, detained outdoors, didn’t have necessary documents, but later  the documents were brought and presented at the case consideration. However, judges  issued orders on expusion even in these cases. Moreover, in the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016 the court of the second instance, previously siding migrants, began to keep in force such decisions.

Such proceedings present not only violatons of human right to a fair trial, not only violation of Russian and international law. There is always a human destiny behind each unauthorised decision. Everyone gets expelled: those who have no money for a ticket to go back home, those, who have no place to live at home, young and old, men and women. Only Ukranian citizens have a chance to stay in Russia; and those who have close relatives here. Others have to leave, even if their children are starving at home, that is quite common for the republics of Central Asia.

Since the end of 2014 Civic Assistance Committee employees are actively engaged in monitoring and analysis of expulsions problem as well as legal assistance to migrants, whose rights were violated in such cases. Konstantin Troitsky spent the whole year of 2015, monitoring courts,  personally witnessing the trials and comparing the data from official judicial sources. As a result, he prepared a report with detailed analysis of situation in Russian District courts.

Download the report (Russian version only) here.

Expulsions In Moscow: Statistics And Court Practice

The most important point in senquence of those changes was August 9, 2013, when Part 3 of Article 18.8 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation (violation by a foreign citizen or a stateless person of entrance and staying regulations in the Russian Federation) and Part 2 of Article 18.10 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation (illegal implementation by a foreign national or a stateless person of work in the Russian Federation) entered in force. These changes require a mondatory expulsion, if the violation of these articles took place in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Moscow region or Leningrad region. These two articles were at the center of expulsion decisions from Russia and of all administrative cases before district courts. In 2014, in Moscow, these two articles took more than 80% of the total number of administrative cases in district courts.

Champion judges and outstanding judges 

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Comparison of the number of cases considered by district courts of Moscow for the years 2012-2014 under Articles 18.8 and 18.10 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation  and all other articles of the Administrative Code (according to the data of the Judicial Department of the Russian Federation).

The result of these changes and legal and executive practice, formed on its ground, is multiple increase of people, deported from Russia with a subsequent bun of entry. According to the Сourt Department, for the year 2012 a total number of such court decisions was 45227, in 2013, this number was already 137097 and in 2014 these decisions reached a number of 198371. Thus, since 2012 the number of expulsions has increased more than fourfold. In total, Russian courts have taken 380695 decisions on expulsions over the last three years. The vast majority of these decisions, namely 373554 or 98%, were adopted under article 18.8 and 18.10 of Administrative Code of the Russian Federation. Almost 30% of decisions on expulsions from Russia were taken in Moscow.

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The Number of Expulsion Decisions made in the Russian Federation and in Moscow for the years 2012-2014 (according to the data of the Judicial Department of the Russian Federation).

In total, over the past three years Moscow district courts made 111511 decisions. 110402 of them were adopted in accordance with the articles 18.8 and 18.10 of the Administrative Code of  the Russian Federation, that is 99% of the total number of expulsion decisions. In its turn, the otcome of 87%  of cases, examined under these articles, was expulsion. Regarding to remainig 13%; 3, 5% is return and termination of cases. And 9, 5% are the cases when a person was fined because he had relatives here or that person was from Ukraine.

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The number of expulsion decisions in Moscow for the years 2012-2014 on semi-annual basis (according to the data of the Judicial Department of the Russian Federation).

If we start from the number of expulsion decisions for the second half of 2014 (the number is 31870), it turns out that every working day Moscow district courts expelled an average of 245 persons. Imagine a Moscow multi-storeyed block, consisting of about 100 apartments. And for half a year it turns a whole neighborhood.

The consideration of administrative cases under Articles 18.8 Part 3 and 18.10 Part 2 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation is distributed unevenly in Moscow district courts. A number of courts deal with dozens of similar cases each month, but there are courts which examine few hundreds a month.

We have ranked thirty courts, basing on its official data. We haven’t included several courts in the ranking because these courts didn’t submit official statistics on their websites. By the way, cases under Articles 18.8 Part 3 and 18.10 Part 2 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation constitute an average 85% of all administrative cases before district courts.

Scherbinskiy court turned out to be the “champion”; 98% of more than 1600 cases, heard in first six months, concern foreign citizens; these were cases under Articles 18.8 Part 3 and 18.10 Part 2 of  the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation. The proportion exceeds 90% in a number of courts — in Basmanniy, Zuzinskiy, Koptevskiy, Cheremushkinskiy and Chertanovskiy courts.

Chertanovskiy district court turned out to be an absolute leader by the number of cases.  According to court official website, for the first six months of 2015 more than 2500 cases under above-mentioned articles have been heard in this court. Around 90% of these cases have been considered by one judge, namely by judge Andrey Vasilyev. On average, around 22 administrative cases concerning foreign citizens were examined in this court every working day.

The second place in the ranking was taken by Nagatinskiy court; for the same period of time around 1800 cases have been heard there. About 35% of all hearings were held by two judges: Olga Shumova and Oksana Chubarova.

The third and fourth places were taken by Golovinskiy and Scherbinskiy courts, which for the first six months of 2015 considered about 1700 and 1600 cases respectively. Golovinskiy court administrative cases were distributed among a number of judges, but the majority (about 65%) were considered by judge Sergey Bazarov. Judge Bazarov is also notable for the fact that he achieved the highest record on the number of expulsions of foreign citizens during one working day. Thus, on January 23, 2015, during a shortened Friday working day he examined cases and expelled from Russia 94 people! You can see this record on Golovinskiy court website.

In Scherbinskiy court more than 90% of all 1600 cases were considered by judge Marina Lipskaya.

The result is that four district courts have considered 20% of all cases, examined under Articles 18.8 Part 3 and 18.10 Part 2 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation. And only five judges have considered about 6500 cases for half-year that is a bit less than 20% of all administrative cases, considered under these two articles in Moscow.

Judges’ Presence

As a part of Civic Assistance Committee project on monitoring of administrative cases under Articles 18.8 Part 3 and 18.10 Part 2 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation we visited 13 district courts.

Trial on these cases differed radically in different courts. In some courts cases were heard individually, in some of them in groups, cases were heard in half a minute or in fifteen minutes. In some courts rights, a protocol on administrative offence, decree and order of appeal were read, in some courts nothing of this was even mentioned. From a total of 13 courts, which observer was able to visit, only two courts followed all formal requirements of administrative cases hearings, which are indicated in Article 29 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation.

We were unable to visit hearings in three courts: in two cases we have been stopped by judge’s ban on the presence at hearings. And in one case a judge issued a decision without a trial.

We found out that the leaders of our ranking had the biggest disjuncture between procedural requirements and reality. So, in Chertanovskiy court the observer found about 20 foreign citizens, accompanied by police officer, who gathered in a hall. Then they all were invited in a small judgement hall. There were not enough chairs for everyone, so that some people were left standing throughout the hearing. The judge Alexandr Vasilyev didn’t read neither introduction, nor rights of persons, accused of administrative offences. Judge Vasilyev only asked a couple of short questions to each of all foreign citizens. That was the only thing he did. There was neither a reading of protocol on administrative offense, no explanations of the order of appeal. There was no even the announcement of decisions made, which later were passed to foreign citizens without explanations, already after the trial, in the hall.

The procedure of foreign nationals expulsion in Nagatinskiy court was very  similar, but there were even more violations. Our observer saw about 30 foreign citizens in a hall, accompanied by  police officers. After a while judge Oksana Chubarova invited a group of 15 people to enter the courtroom. Judge Chubarova announced that the detainees were living in a wrong place, without following any formalities like the announcement of the detainees’ rights and reading of the protocols of administrative detention. After that, without any interrogations, defendants were invited to sign a copy of a court order. Foreign citizens obeyed. Then they were given their passports and the texts of of the resolution, which Chubarova neither read nor clarified, of course. Unlike the trial in Chertanovkiy court, there was no even a brief interrogation of defendants. One of the detainees didn’t sign immediately the resolution and dared to ask for an interpreter, but the judge, speaking with a menace in voice, offered him two options: either to sign and go home or to go “for 48 hours in the police station”, while they would be looking for an interpreter. A police officer, standing nearby, advised to sign it. The resistance was broken and the detainee did what he was told to do. The whole procedure, resulted in expulsion of 30 people from Russia, took no more than 35 minutes.

In Golovinskiy court an observer was not even able to see the process. The judge Sergey Bazarov issued a decision of foreign citizen case without a trial. When the observer came into the court and saw a migrant under escort. Police officers reported, that there had not been the hearing on his case yet . Then the foreigner was brought to the judge’s secretary and in a minute he got out with a finished copy of the text of resolution. Answering the observer’s question, the secretery said that the judge took the decision in the chambers, and he himself only “signs”. He also added that if the observer desired to visit a trial with judge’s presence, it’s necessary to come in the morning. Apparently, it is the time when the judge consider cases under various articles, but not under Articles 18.8 Part 3 and 18.10 Part 2 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation.

In Scherbinskiy court the observer was not even allowed into the hall, where 15 Vietnam nationals had been guided in before. First, a bailiff rudely said that strangers have nothing to do at the hearing. Then he declared the meeting closed, probably just not having any idea of what that means. After the intervention of Federal Migration Service employee, accompanying foreign citizens, the judge invited the observer in the hall, which turned out to be even smaller than one in Chertanovkiy court. She denied the presence of our employee at the hearing, referring to lack of space. The very fact of “collective consideration” didn’t embarass the judge.

Out of the country!

The trial under Articles 18.8 Part 3 and 18.10 Part 2 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation can change a person’s life forever. Thefore it is so important to follow all the procedures, prescribed by law. But we see that the practice is extremely far from these procedures.

The vast majority of foreigners are brought to justice for the first time. But banal remark in the resolution’s text, “at assignment of punishment court takes into account the nature of the offense, the identity of the offender, his property status, circumstances, mitigating and aggravating his responsibility, ” and further: “not previously brought to administrative responsibility”, means little in the decisions under Articles 18.8 Part 3 and 18.10 Part 2 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation.

Everyone gets expelled: those who have no money for a ticket to go back home, those, who have no place to live at home, young and old, men and women. Only Ukranian citizens have chance to stay in Russia; and those who have close relatives here.  

The grounds for punishment are different. Many decisions could hardly meet even  strict limits, established by law. Thus, district courts can expell people if at the moment of examination of documents they didn’t have migration card and/or passport. Even if later friends or relatives brought the documents in perfect order, it couldn’t convince judge not to expell a person. Forgot the document — out of the country. Here is the quote from judicial decree of judge Vasilyev: “He didn’t have neither passport nor migration card because he had left all the documents in the car. Later his friend brought the documents to the police station after the arrest.” So the man left his car for a while and then the police officer arrives. The man doesn’t have any documents. He asks to go and take them in the car, but instead he is brought to the police station. His friend brings the documents there. However, the process is already running, forgetfullness is punished by expulsion though there are valid documents on the table right before the judge.

That day judge Vasilyev expelled several people, using similar statements.  All the documents were delivered to the court later, but decisions remained unchanged.

At one of the hearings, in another court, a man was simply  begging a judge not to expel him from the country. He was able to pay a heavy fine only to stay in Russia, only not to lose his work. He explained that his family back home in Tajikistan was in distress, they were in desperate need of his small salary. He assured that he had already prolonged his patent. That was the end of January 2015, when the government couldn’t decide to recognize old-style patents or not. Eventually, they are recognized at the moment. But the judge was implacable. Having considered the case in less than ten minutes, she made the decision to fine and expell this man.

It is only a couple of very short scenes. Similar stories happen every working day in district courts, but nobody cares, passing by indifferently and, perhaps, believing that Russia is a hospitable country.

Konstantin Troitsky, Civic Assistance Committee

Why Migrant Children Are Being Expelled from Russian Schools

Alla, a Ukrainian national, arrived in Moscow last year from the city of Chernivtsi, located in Western Ukraine. Alla says that food prices have greatly increased in her hometown, and it has become hard to find work. In Moscow, she quickly found a manager’s job at a small company, rented a flat, and in spring of this year decided to move her son Alexander to Moscow. She went to School No. 1524 and asked what she needed to do to enroll him in the eighth grade.

Alla was told documents for enrolling in school were now submitted through the District Information Support Services (DISS). At DISS, she was informed that her child could be enrolled in school only if he had a yearlong temporary residence permit for Moscow. Alla and Alexander now have a three-month temporary residence permit. Their landlady has refused to register them for a longer period. At DISS, Alla was told that without this document her son had no right to study in a Russian school.

“Alla’s story is now typical. A family from Ukraine recently turned to us for help. For a whole year, a school had refused to enroll their son in the first grade. First, they needed a resident permit, and then they were denied enrollment due to the fact the child had turned eight, and eight-year-olds are too old to study in the first grade. This child’s parents were forced to return to Ukraine, ” says Stasya Denisova from the Civic Assistance Committee.

According to the human rights defender, they now are dealing with a very large number of appeals from migrant and refugee families concerning expulsions and non-admission to schools. The most common reason is that their resident permits have run out. School directors cite Ministry of Education Decree No. 32, dated January 22, 2014. The decree divides children into two categories. Priority for admission to school is given to those who have permanent registration, while those who have temporary registration are admitted in second place.

“There is nothing in the decree about children without registration. Apparently, officials believe this means that such children do not have to be enrolled in school at all, ” says Denisova.

Another human rights activist, Bakhrom Ismailov, says this year he has begun receiving many complaints from migrants whose children have been kicked out of school because they lacked documents.

“For a long time, Russia made it possible for all children who were living in the country to get an education. And the right to an education for all children was untouchable. The situation has changed this year. The FMS has obliged schools to expel children without resident permits, ” says Ismailov.

“Just this week, I got several phone calls from Central Asian migrants who told me their children were going to be expelled from school because they had no medical insurance. Last year, a law requiring migrants to buy health insurance came into force. Without it, they cannot be employed. But we are talking about adult migrants. I don’t understand why high schools are making this demand on their pupils, ” says Gavkhar Jurayeva, head of the Migration and Law Center.

Several teachers in different Moscow schools who wished to remain anonymous confirmed to Yod that at the beginning of the academic year, school principals were told at staff meetings that Moscow was now prepared to teach only children holding Moscow residence permits.

It is not only Moscow schools that now require residence permits.

“Our principal’s granddaughter, who is registered in Moscow, goes to school in the Moscow Region. At the school she attends, they demanded a Moscow Region residence permit from her. They said they were different budgets. Moscow was ready to educate only its own children at its own expense, and the region also educated only its own children at its own expense, ” recounts a Moscow schoolteacher.

However, Isaak Kalina, head of the Moscow Education Department, does not agree with this take on the situation and says that stories of migrant children being expelled are myths.

“These stories are examples of journalistic myths. Any child who is legally in Moscow can study in Moscow’s schools, ” says Kalina.

In February of this year, Uzbek national Nurbek, who has lived in Russia for ten years, was told by Vera Pankova, principal of School No. 34 in Tver, that his two teenaged sons, who had been pupils at the school since the first grade, would either have to be registered within five days or she would expel them.

“Not once in all these years had anyone at the school asked about my sons’ registration. The boys were good pupils, and they had no problems with their teachers. I also respect Russian law. I have always done all the paperwork for my family promptly, ” recounts Nurbek.

The three-year residence permits of Nurbek’s sons had expired this past fall. Nurbek has a Russian residence permit, owns his own home in Tver, and is employed full time. Nurbek also wanted to apply for permanent residence permits for his sons and wife. But he was turned down on the grounds that his wife was unemployed, and the children were inscribed in her passport.

“I explained that my wife stays at home with our youngest son and our daughter. How can she work? And I own my own home and have a job. All the same, the boys were not allowed to get permanent residence, ” says Nurbek, outraged.

The FMS also refused to register Nurbek’s sons, explaining that the boys had to exit and re-enter Russia.

“I earn forty to fifty thousand rubles a month [approx. 650 to 800 euros] for the whole family. I cannot afford to buy the children a two-way ticket. I have to set aside money and save up for this, ” explains Nurbek.

In February, Nurbek was summoned by the principal, who demanded that he immediately present his sons’ registration. The school gave him five days to do the paperwork.

“The children were expelled the same day. They were required to turn in their textbooks. The school did not even suggest temporarily transferring them to home study. I asked that they be allowed to finish out the school year and promised to secure them their resident permits by this deadline. The principal replied that if she didn’t immediately kick out my children, the FMS would fine the school 400, 000 rubles [approx. 6, 500 euros]. The kids were very upset. The oldest loves school. He intends to study engineering at university, and then move to Germany. The teachers say he has great aptitude for foreign languages. After finishing school, my younger soon planned to study be a mechanic at vocational college. I have worked so much so that my children would not have to be uneducated street sweepers, and I decided to fight for them, ” recounts Nurbek.

He filed a lawsuit against the school and won the case. According to the Civic Assistance Committee’s Stasya Denisova, the court ruled that the expulsion of Nurbek’s children had been illegal, because it violated the federal law “On Education, ” the Russian Federal Constitution, and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Russia has ratified.

“The demands of the local FMS office to expel children due to a lack of registration also had no legal grounds. The court ruled it was not the school’s business to identify foreign nationals among its pupils and expel them due to a lack of registration, ” says Denisova.

According to Nurbek, Principal Pankova came up to him after the trial and said she would challenge the court’s ruling.

“She was very indignant that, I, a migrant, had dared file suit against a Russian school. I tried to convince her I had not wanted to humiliate or insult anyone. I just needed my children to get an education. Then she said, ‘If you have money for lawsuits, you can afford to pay for your children’s education, ’” recounts Nurbek.

Pankova told Yod she had no plans to prevent Nurbek’s children from attending school.

“I only ask that they register as soon as possible. No, the FMS is not pressuring me. It just has to be done, ” said Pankova.

Nurbek claims that his children have already received a temporary residence permit. They have been registered, a

The Tver Region FMS office accommodated Nurbek only after Civic Assistance Committee lawyers intervened.

“Secondary schools now require registration not only from Central Asian migrant children but also from Russian citizens who have moved to a new town and from refugees. For example, in the Moscow Region town of Noginsk we opened a school for the Syrian refugee children, who are not admitted to Russian schools despite the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. We were unable to find common ground with the FMS office in Noginsk. When we arrived to meet them, their staff illegally checked the documents of the human rights defenders, ” recalls Olga Nikolayenko, director of the Adaptation and Education Center for Refugee Children.

The FMS was unable to reply to Yod’s request for a comment before this article went to press.

Nikolayenko says she does not understand what the FMS hopes to achieve by forcing schools to expel migrant children for bureaucratic reasons.

“Some migrants will leave Russia due to the fact their children won’t be able to go to school here. But most will remain. Their children will also continue to live here, because things are even worse at home. I don’t think they will have a good attitude towards a country that has deprived them of the opportunity to get an education. World know-how shows that first-generation immigrants are never integrated. But it is easy to integrate the second generation if the host country makes a minimal effort, ” says Nikolayenko. “For some reason, our government is trying to make sure that neither the second nor the third generation is integrated. It generates a number of people in this country who are excluded from social processes, and so society cannot tap their potential. These people could get a high school diploma or a higher education and pay taxes. I don’t see any logic in the actions of the schools and the local FMS offices. First and foremost, we are wantonly sabotaging ourselves.”

Ismailov says that observance of immigration law has now been put above the right of children to get an education.

“In the past two years, the requirements for migrants have become tighter and tighter. Pressure has been put on them via minors, ” says Ismailov. “Why pressure children? Let the adults be fined and penalized. Children should not be treated so cruelly.”

Nurbek’s friend Abdul-Aziz, from the town of Elektrostal in Moscow Region, is planning to send his children back home to Tajikistan this week. Due to the lack of registration, none of his school-age sons and daughters is admitted to Russian schools.

“They can go to school at home. They will grow up and come to Moscow to work. There is no work in Tajikistan anyway. But if they don’t know Russian and your customs, that will be your own fault, ” says Abdul-Aziz.

Darina Shevchenko
June 18, 2015
Yod

This is the second in a series of posts dealing with Central Asia, Central Asians, and immigration. The first post in the series, a translation of Sergei Abashin’s essay “Movements and Migrants, ” can be read here. Photo, above, courtesy of Yod.

Translated by The Russian Reader.

Internal Investigations Division (IID) found offences on the part of policemen in “Golyanovo case”.

The document informs us that guilty policemen were brought to disciplinary responsibility by the order of the chief of Department of Internal Affairs, Eastern District, Moscow. The letter also says that materials of check-up were sent to Preobrazhenskiy investigation department for making a decision on opening a criminal case.

For Golyanovo case this is an important achievement. For many months lawyers of Civic Assistance Committee and Memorial Human Rights Centre who were defending interests of the victims, were confronted only with refusal of opening criminal cases and inactivity of interrogator Damir Samerkhanov on complaints of former employees of Prodykty store. IID’s recognition of offences on the part of OVD Golyanovo officers, on whose territory “slave-holding” store was functioning for many years, gives some hope that the situation will develop in the direction of criminal prosecution of the store’s owners Jansul Istanbekova and Saken Muzdybayev.

At the same time in Shymkent (Kazakhstan) eight criminal cases were opened against them on complaints of former sellers who lived like slaves. Investigator E.Akmolda intends to contact Russian investigator Samerkhanov for exchange of information and probably for negotiations on parallel or mutual investigation.

Also on the complaint of the store employee a criminal case was opened in Uzbekistan under Article “Human Trafficking”. At the moment it was stopped because the accused was put on a wanted list.
We would like to remind you that on October 30, 2012 a group of civil society activists and human rights defenders with the participation of journalists released from the back rooms of Prodykty store in Novosibirskaya street in Moscow 11 people, one woman refused to leave. Nine women and three men, citizens of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan has spent in slavery up to 10 years.
On November, 1 the investigation committee announced that pre-investigation check of findings in mass media would be held. On November, 4 the case was opened on p. “zh” p.2 Article 127 PC RF – “illegal deprivation of freedom of two and more persons”. On November, 6 order on institution of criminal proceedings was denounced. Since that time investigator Samerkhanov hasn’t made any further action on filling complaints (including new ones – about forced labour) of former workers of Prodykty store.

Besides, victims were denied to open a case on the fact of injury infliction. Inquiry officers of OVD Preobrazhenskiy received investigation committee’s materials in order to check the presence of crime components in the store owners’ actions and after having questioned only them and ignoring victims’ evidence, made a decision to refuse to start a criminal case.

The next court sessions on “Golyanovo case” (on inactivity of interrogator Samerkhanov) will be held on March 29 and April 3 at Preobrazhenskiy district court, Moscow.

Court sessions on Golyanovo case were postponed for the third time

On February 7 and 13, 2013 at Preobrazhensky district court, Moscow next court sessions were held on the complaints of lawyers of the girls who had been released from “Produkty” store on Novosibirskaya street at the end of October. Finally, investigator Damir Samerkhanov was present at the sessions, against his inactivity the lawyers appealed. Yet this time again materials of inspection were not submitted and the court refused to consider the case without them in spite of lawyers’ protest. A new date was assigned for hearing for the second half of February.

On February, 7 Leonid Garbar, the judge of Preobrazhensky district court informed again Irina Biriukova, the lawyer of Civic Assistance Committee who represented Leila Ashirova, one of the released store staff, on failure to provide materials connecting to evaluation of the victim’s complaint by Damir Samerkhanov, investigator of Preobrazhenskiy Investigating Committee (IC), Moscow. Samerkhanov who was present in court explained that they were at Chief IC, Moscow.

Then Samerkhanov asked to explain to him the point of the matter. The lawyer provided him with the copy of the document for his consideration, after that the judge gave the opportunity to question the investigator whose inactivity became the matter of dispute. Biriukova asked Samerkhanov if any document or notification on inspection of the complaint had been addressed to the lawyer or her client. The investigator stated that he didn’t understand the reason for the trial, without answering the question. “I can’t see a reason for wasting the court’s time to consider this complaint. Please, enter it in the record that I am prepared today if the lawyer can, to provide her with the copies of the inspection materials at 1pm at our office”, – he said.

The judge asked the lawyer if she agreed to cooperate and to settle amicably. “I answered that I wasn’t to cooperate with the investigator because I didn’t understand why I had to do it. I tried to reason that it was not only the matter of absence of the inspection of our complaint but the absence of any notification on the investigator’s part on the process of inspection and proceeding decisions on the case. We have got no notification whatsoever”, – Irina Biriukova said. The judge interrupted the lawyer without considering the matter and postponed the session till February, 18. He told the investigator to provide the inspection materials for that date.

“He had the materials with him, I saw them. Though there were no proper signed copies either for us or for the court. I asked the judge to let me to explain that it wasn’t the matter of materials since the investigator didn’t deny that he hadn’t sent anything to us which was his inactivity per se. But most of my words were drowned by the judge’s shouts, who didn’t want to listen to any explanation. The result of my repeated attempts to explain to the judge the idea that the matter was not only the inspection materials but not informing me and my clients of the proceeding decisions on the complaint was that judge Garbar reproved me on the record”, – said lawyer Biriukova.

We would like to remind you that all previous sessions were cancelled because in a written answer to the court investigator Samerkhanov stated that the materials were at Moscow City Prosecutor’s office. Lawyer Biriukova insisted to consider the complaint without the inspection materials and the judge declined a motion.

On February 13 judge Zoe Orlova, at the hearing of case of Mutabkharon Abdullayeva’s and Bakya Kassimova’s complaint (lawyers Gulnara Bobodjanova and Emil Taubulatov) informed that through official channels the court had requested the materials of investigative inspection from IC, Moscow but still there was no answer from IC.

Investigator Samerkhanov, who was present at the session, informed the court that the investigation had appealed again against the decision to cancel the criminal case at the General Prosecutor’s office. That is where the case materials are being kept now.

Taking into consideration the absence of the case materials judge Orlova once again postponed processing of a complaint of victims for the inactivity of investigation.
“Judges had grounds to uphold a claim on the inactivity of investigation, since the investigator’s behavior and repeated failure of providing the court with materials is a direct and visible evidence of this inactivity. One might as well appeal against inactivity of judges”, – Svetlana Gannushkina, president of Civic Assistance Committee commented on the situation.

The next session on the claim of Leila Ashirova will be held in Preobrazhenskiy interdistict court on February 18 at 5 pm, on claims of Mutabkharon Abdullayeva and Bakya Kassimova – on February 27 at 12.30 pm. The sessions are open for mass media representatives.