The Moscow City Court upheld the decision of the Prosecutor’s Office, which was
deemed inconsistent a year ago. It is about the decision of the Deputy Chief Prosecutor
of the Russian Federation Saak Karapetyan to repatriate Ravshan Rakhimov, a citizen
of Uzbekistan, to the intelligence agencies of his own country. In September last year,
Moscow City Court ruled that it was illegal but changed its opinion once the Supreme
Court of the Russian Federation returned the case for reconsideration. The new ruling
was issued despite the fact that the European Court of Human Rights previously
imposed a ban on Rakhimov’s deportation to his home country due to the risk of being
Ravshan Rakhimov has been living and working in Russia since 2010. In 2014 his
mother who is living in Uzbekistan, phoned him to say that his brother and four of his
friends were put under arrest after leaving the mosque and were taken into custody.
They were tortured into “confessing” that Rakhimov allegedly distributed videos
diminishing the government institution of Uzbekistan. Soon law enforcement officers
came to visit Ravshan’s parents only to threaten them and demand that they tell their
son to come back home. The court trial took place without Rakhimov, the ruling was that
Ravshan must be detained. He was now a wanted person.
In February 2017, Ravshan stopped in Moscow to check the documents of the Ministry
of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation. Seeing that his name appears on the list of
those wanted in Uzbekistan, he was taken to the Babushkinsky court, which elected
Rakhimov a preventive measure in the form of detention for extradition.
As the investigation was ongoing, the lawyer of the network “Migration and Law” HRC
“Memorial” Rosa Magomedova and lawyer Olga Golub started preparing materials to
defend Rakhimov. The Prosecutor’s Office ruled that Ravshan should be repatriated but
his defenders appealed the decision in Moscow City Court and won the case. The court
decided that Rakhimov should be released and not extradited from the country.
However, this joy was short-lived. Ravshan was never released from custody. Lawyer
Rosa Magomedova waited for him on the first floor of the courthouse but he simply
disappeared. It soon became clear that the Uzbekistan citizen had been kidnapped in
order to create a situation that would end in his deportation due to issues with
documents. Luckily Ravshan was found before he could secretly be sent back home for
having supposedly violated Russian stay regulations.
Efforts of Russian law enforcement in this matter are explained by Svetlana
Gannushkina, Chairman of the “Civic Assistance” Committee who believes that Uzbek
intelligence agencies probably pay well for such service.
Lawyer Roza Magomedova, who cooperates with the Civic Assistance Committee, and
lawyer Olga Golub in the autumn have applied Rakhimov’s application to Rule 39 of the
European Court of Human Rights – an interim measure, which is that the state is
prohibited from taking actions that could lead to an irreparable harm to life or health of a
person. The ECHR issued a ban on the extradition of Ravshan to Uzbekistan, but there
are no guarantees that this prohibition will be continued. Especially after the decision of
the Moscow City Court which stresses the unfounded fear of possible tortures in
Uzbekistan expressed by the defenders: “only the possibility of cruel treatment cannot
result to a violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights since
this threat must be real, substantial and predictable.
Meanwhile, Rakhimov is staying at the Center for Temporary Detention of Foreign
Nationals. An appeal against the Moscow City Court’s decision will be prepared in the
Translation by Elena Fedyushkina