Openly gay Uzbek journalist and human rights activist Ali Feruz has been granted a reprieve, after a Russian appeals court halted the process of his deportation to Uzbekistan.
Mr Feruz has been based in Moscow since 2011 and has been trying to gain refugee status for the last three years. On 1 August a lower Moscow court called for his deportation, citing alleged violations of immigration law. An appeals court judge halted the deportation process after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) placed a temporary ban on his removal. The ECHR will now review the journalist’s case, a process that could take over a year.
According to a report by BBC News, Mr Feruz believes he will face a “long, slow death” if forced to return to Uzbekistan, where being homosexual is a crime. A number of Russian and international organisations have issued statements in support of Mr Feruz, including Amnesty International. Being a gay, human rights activist is a “near lethal combination” in Uzbekistan, reads a statement by Amnesty.
The journalist believes that his detention by Russian police and accusations of immigration violations were triggered by his writing about Uzbekistan.
“I have been trying to get refugee status for three years. The police never had any problem with me before. It was only when I wrote about Uzbekistan, about the elections, that this started,” he told BBC News.
Mr Feruz will remain at a detention centre while his case is reviewed.
Source: BBC News