Russia is attempting to deport Ali Feruz (née Khudoberdi Nurmatov) the gay journalist who helped break the story about Chechnya’s imprisonment, torture and murder of gay men back to Uzbekistan — a country that he fled after being imprisoned for not complying with security forces.
Due to a stolen passport and an inability to return to Uzbekistan to get a new one, Russian authorities arrested Feruz on August 1 and claimed he was living in the country illegally — despite his multiple rejected asylum applications.
Ali Feruz was tortured in and subsequently fled Uzbekistan in 2009 after the country’s notoriously brutal security forces attempted to make him inform on dissident friends. He then came to Russia, where he was born, and began working for the independent investigative Novaya Gazeta newspaper where he helped break the Chechnya gay persecution story earlier this year.
Novaya Gazeta reported Nurmatov has been beaten, Tasered and insulted with anti-gay slurs at the detention center outside of Moscow in which he is being held.
“Ali Feruz is openly gay, a human rights activist and a correspondent for the independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper,” said Denis Krivosheev, deputy director for Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International, on Wednesday in a statement. “This is a near-lethal combination for someone who is about to be handed over to Uzbekistan, where ‘sodomy’ is a crime and torture is endemic.”
Nurmatov appealed the ruling. The Associated Press on Friday reported the European Court of Human Rights has temporarily halted his deportation.
court is scheduled to consider Nurmatov’s appeal on Monday.