The expulsion of Syrian Kuro Sabri is being prepared in Dagestan. He had been staying in a local SIDFC (Special Institution for Detention of Foreign Citizens) for the last seven months. If it happens, his 20-year-old wife and little daughter will be left alone in Makhachkala. But this fact didn’t bother neither courts, nor the Federal Migration Service staff, who had refused asulym to Kuro Sabri.
Kuro Sabri, Syrian from Aleppo, arrived to Nalchik in October, 2011. He entered Russia having a one-year business visa. Kuro Sabri worked at a small private sewing factory like many other Syrians from Aleppo. The factory was located in the village of Paraul, where Sabri met his future wife, Kalimat (Kamilla by her friends and relatives). In November, 2013 their daughter Miriam was born. In April 2014 the couple finally managed to register their marriage. Previously they couldn’t do this because the owner of the factory, where Subri worked, didn’t give his passport back until the visa had expired. And then he had to wait for long the certificate from the embassy confirming that he was not married in Syria.
When the war in Syria began and Sabri’s hometown, Aleppo, had turned into a battlefield, he realised that he couldnt’ return home. He went to Dagestan migration service to seek asylum. But he was not admitted. He went there two or three times with the same result. Last time Sabri came there with his wife and child. The Federal Migration Service employee Sultan Amarov told him that he couldn’t accept his application for asylum because his visa had expired. Then Sabri went to the head of FMS Radjab Abdulatipov, but he also said that he couldn’t help.
The employees of Federal Migration Service in the Republic of Dagestan had no right to refuse Kuro Sabri access to the procedure for applying for asylum. “The right to seek asylum does not depend on the fact whether a person has visa or not. Actually the law does not provide any reasons for refusal to accept application”, explained Elena Burtina, Civic Assistance Committee employee. “A person must be admitted to the procedure in any case even if he illegally crossed the border, fleeing from persecution as provided be the Federal Law “On Refugees”. While examining the application FMS employees, of course, may wonder why a person didn’t apply immediately to asylum, but mere delay can not be a ground for refusal to grant the status. For example, like in the case of Kuro Sabri, a person could come to Russia as a migrant worker and only after arrival find himself a refugee at the place if the situation in his country has changed so much that it became dangerous to go back home”, she added.
Yet in the spring of 2014 Civic Assistance Committee had found out that the right of refugees to access to the procedure of asylum seeking is sistematically violated in Dagestan. At the time Syrian journalist Muiz Abu Aljadail, Committee’s volunteer, went to Makhachkala, where he met the head of the department of labour migration, refugees, displaced persons and integration support Idris Imamagomedov. The latter said that there were no problems with access of Syrians to the procedure of asylum seeking in Dagestan. The fact is that they don’t apply for asylum. Next day Muiz brought 35 Syrians to FMS, who had written statements confirming their intention to apply for asylum. Sixsteen of them had managed to submit their applications to the office before Muiz was turned out of doors. The rest of them were not even allowed to enter FMS building. Next to the group of Syrians at the entrance an intermediary was flocking about. Referring to the fact that Muiz had been kicked out of FMS he explained to refugees that he alone could help them to apply for asylum but only for money (30 thousand rubles). None of those 35 refugees had been admitted to the procedure for asylum seeking.
Sabri couldn’t go back home leaving his wife with little child alone. Applying for temprorary residence permit didn’t make sense since his visa had expired. His application for asylum had not been accepted. Thus Sabri became illegal.
After the wedding Sabri changed his place of work. On february 25th, 2015, he was detained in Makhachkala. On the same day Soviet District Court of Makhachkala on the basis of Article 18.8 of the Administrative Code (violation of residence in Russian Federation) had decided to expel him from Russia. And Sabri had been placed in the local SIDFC (Special Institution for Detention of Foreign Citizens).
Kamilla, Sabri’s wife, mandated a lawyer to appeal the ruling on expulsion. But on the 4th of March the Supreme Court of the Republic of Dagestan upheld the decision. After Kamilla had applied to UNHCR, the employee of Human Rights Center in Makhachkala Sirajutdin Datsiev and a lawyer Asis Kurbanov joined the case of Sabri. Hardly overcoming the resistance of SIDFC administration they were able to meet Sabri and helped him to send his asylum application to Federal Migration Service. On May 5, 2015 FMS specialist in the Republic of Dagestan conducted the procedure of accepting Kuro Sabri’s asylum application.
Futhermore, the lawyer appealed against the decision on Sabri’s expulsion under sepervisory review procedure. On June 8, 2015 the appeal had been examined by Deputy Chairman of Dagestan Supreme Court and had been rejected.
Kuro Sabri took the detention in SIDFC very badly. First, he was worried about his wife. Her father was extremely dissatisfied with the fact that his son-in-law was “holing up” in the detention center rather than maintaining his family. Living conditions in the detention center were good, but terrible heat, isolation (Syrians were place together with Vietnamese who didn’t speak Russian), enforced idleness (no radio, no TV, no books) and fear of deportation caused periodic nervous breakdowns. Below is the excerpt from a letter of Sirajutdin Datsiev to his colleagues:
“Sabri called. He was screaming and crying that it’s unbearable, that he had enough of it, that he wants nothing. He was asking to send him to Syria even if he would be killed. He was shouting that he would comit a suicide and was asking for help. Detention in SIDFC is unbearable for him.”
In June Sabri had been beaten in detention center. Having learnt about it the lawyer tried to meet with him, but in violation of the law he was not allowed to the defendant. After the lawyer had lodged complaints to the Prosecution’s Office, Sabri’s phone was confiscated, he was put in the separate cell and was threatened of detention in psychiatric hospital.
Later a man came to Sabri in the detention center. He identified himself as Mohammad Najjar, an ambassador to Syria, and persuaded Kuro Sabri to renounce to his lawyer and to put up with deportation. By the way, afterwards a man with such a name in the Syrian embassy had not been found.
On August, 12 Sirajutdin wrote to his colleagues: “Sabri called. He told that Federal Migration Service employee brought him some piece written by hand and asked him to sign it. Sabri asked the help of interpreter, but was refused. He asked to explain what was written on the piece, but no one helped him”.
As it turned out this was a notification of refusal of temprorary asylum. The text of notification was needed to appeal this decision. Kuro Sabri asked for a copy, but was illegaly denied. The lawyer in FMS had not been allowed to study the case file of the defendant. Only on August, 25 Sirajutdin finally hit the detention center where he together with Kuro wrote an application to the FMS claiming to issue a reasoned decision to refuse asylum and a request not to deport him to Syria.
In early September another lawyer, Shamil Magomedov, took on Kuro’s case. After getting the decision the lawyer prepared a complaint to Federal Migration Service. At the same time UNHCR appealed to Federal Migration Service and to service of court bailiffs with the request not to expel Kuro Sabri and other Syrians, who are staying in the detention center in Makhachkala.
However, on October, 6, Sirajutdin reported that Kuro had received Russian Federation Federal Migration Service decision dated Semtember 24, 2015. FMS decision to refuse him a temprorary asylum had been recognized lawful. The FMS document says that Kuro violated the rules of stay (didn’t leave when his visa expired, worked illegally). It also says that he assertedly didn’t apply for asylum. Authors of the decision are making also a clumsy attempt to raise doubts about Kuro’s devotion to his family (the decision notes that Kuro didn’t immediately register his marriage and established his paternity). But the question of whether he can safely return home (and this is a key issue in making decisions on asylum) is not even considered. The document also says nothing about how Sabri’s expulsion would affect his family, how FMS decision relates to the constitutional principle of family unity and right to respect family life, established by Article 8 of European Convention, which was signed also by Russia. Obviously, FMS believes that Sabri’s wife and his child may exercise their right to family life following him to Syria.
“Me and the lawyer consider futher appeal rather pointless. We get constant refusals, and I don’t think that the situation will change. Unless a miracle happens, Kuro will be expelled. He is not alone in the detention center. Now there are five Syrian citizens there, and all of them are expecting expulsion. Many Syrians here are turning to us first and then, seeing that they can’t solve problems legally, solve them with a help of intermediaries. Official data is not available, but by my estimates there are about 500 Syrians living in the region”, Sirajutdin Datsiev explained.
Author: Elena Srapyan “Civic Assistance”