20 october 2018

Central Asia news

Basmanny Court in Moscow fines openly gay journalist and orders him to be deported to Uzbekistan

22.11.2017 21:17 msk


On the evening of 21 November, the Moscow Basmanny Court has found the journalist of Novaya Gazeta, Khudoberdi Nurmatov (known under the pseudonym "Ali Feruz") guilty of working without a "patent" (work permit in Russia - note by Fergana News) and sentenced him to a fine of five thousand roubles and deportation to Uzbekistan, Novaya Gazeta reported.

At the same time, the judge took into account that earlier the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ordered to suspend the procedure of deportation of Nurmatov during the consideration of his lawsuit. Therefore, the deportation was postponed until the ECtHR hears the case. Until then, Nurmatov will be held in the same place as before - at the centre for the temporary detention of foreign citizens.

Ali Feruz pleaded not guilty during the trial. He claimed that legally he had had no labour relations with the Novaya Gazeta; he had only offered his articles to the edition, and the newspaper had published them if considered suitable.

"There is no evidence that he received money for work. He says that the staff member pooled [their money] to pay him," said lawyer Daniil Haimovich in court.

Nevertheless, the court found the journalist guilty charging him with "working without a patent in a city of federal significance Moscow" offence according to the Article 18.10 Part 2 of the Code of Administrative Offences. The judge came to the conclusion that the described relationships should still be considered labour.

The court session was unexpected for the defendant. At about seven o'clock on the evening of 21 November, he called his colleagues informing that for some reason he was taken to the Basmanny Court on a police car from the centre for the temporary detention of foreign citizens.

At the same time, the court is closed to visitors after six o'clock in the evening. Therefore, colleagues and friends of Feruz were not allowed into the building; they had to wait at the entrance. A few hours later it became known about the verdict on the administrative case.

Ali Feruz (Hudoberdi Nurmatov) was born in Russia, where his mother, a Russian citizen, lives. He worked as a journalist in Uzbekistan and its citizen, but the special services imposed pressure forcing him to leave the country.

He applied for asylum in Russia because he lost his passport, but when the migration authorities denied his application, they detained him for deportation to Uzbekistan.

Ali Feruz faces imminent persecution and punishment for his journalist activity and sexual orientation in case of his deportation to Uzbekistan.

At the same time, German authorities are ready to take in Ali Feruz to prevent his deportation to Uzbekistan. Earlier, there were reports about a diplomatic representative of one of the European country requested the Russian authorities to “legalise” the journalist (which would mean issuing a travel document) to accept him, but the Russian migration authority denied such an action.

In August, Ali tried to cut his veins after the decision to deport him, but the bailiffs twisted him. The journalist said that he would better die than return to Uzbekistan.

Prominent figures of the Russian entertainment industry, journalists, international human rights Reporters Without Borders and Amnesty International organisations stepped out in support of Feruz. The European Court of Human Rights has banned the expulsion of the journalist from Russia before considering his complaint at the European Court of Human Rights.

Fergana News Agency