No Expulsion, No Exit

A Pakistani cannot leave Russia due to the absence of a court decision on expulsion.

A Pakistani national requested to be expulsed from Russia but instead was only ordered to pay a fine for an illegal stay in the country. Asif wants to go home urgently as his mother has been diagnosed with cancer.

Chapter 4 of the Federal Act “On the procedures for leaving and entering the Russian Federation” rules that foreign nationals may leave Russia if they have a visa or a decision on administrative expulsion. At the same time, Article 27 of the Constitution reads: “everyone may freely leave the Russian Federation”. In comparison, the first paragraph of the same article that states that “everyone who legally stays in the territory of the Russian Federation shall have the right to travel freely…” Therefore, the article intentionally provides that everyone has the right to leave, whether they stay legally or not.

The plane that Asif had a ticket left without him on February 22nd. According to the accompanying volunteer of the Civic Assistance Committee, the Pakistani “was held in some room for several hours in the Vnukovo airport and then set free”.

Until 2012 Asif had been studying in the medical school of the North-Western State Medical University named after I.I. Mechnikov in St.Petersburg. He didn’t manage to take the exams, however, as he had to return to Pakistan due to financial difficulties. Back at home he worked as a taxi driver, lived with his parents and helped them. In June 2017, he was kidnapped in the yard of his own house. His relatives were demanded to pay 24 thousand dollars and told that otherwise Asif would be killed. He was kept hostage for a month in a suburban hut until he managed to escape in July. It took him several days to reach his parents’ house, and afterwards, he and his family secretly moved to a different town.

Several months later Asif decided to come back to Russia. Upon receiving an invitation from one of the Russian universities, he entered the country with a student visa. The visa expired at the end of last year and he became illegal. Last week Asif learned that his mother was seriously ill, so he immediately turned to the Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia for the Zamoskvorechye District of Moscow. There Major S.V. Andreev, without filing the case with a court, issued an order that Asif be convicted of administrative offence and was given a fine 5000 ruble fine without being repatriated.

Thousands of foreign nationals who want to get asylum in Russia, get sent to a court by the police during routine documents check-ups, and then the court sentences them to expulsion with incredible ease, regardless of their situation. Now suddenly a person who wants to be expulsed cannot get it.

It is noteworthy that, upon ordering the fine, the police reassured Asif that the paid fine would be enough for him to leave the Russia Ferderation. The Vnukovo staff however decided otherwise. And they were right, of course, given that they based their decision on the Federal Act and not the Constitution.

Translation by Daria Gorbacheva