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11 Sep, 2007 12:05

Russian court overrules asylum-seeker deportation

Moscow City Court has overturned a ruling that an Uzbek man should be extradited to his home country. Uzbekistan had asked Russia to return Yashin Djuraev, claiming he had close ties with Islamic extremists.

Mr Djuraev was detained in the Russian capital in January this year under a request from Uzbekistan. However the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office later declined the extradition request.

A month later Mr Djuraev sought refugee status in Russia claiming he would be tortured for his religious beliefs if returned to Uzbekistan. The request was denied and a Moscow court ruled that the man should be deported, claiming he was living in the country illegally.

His lawyer, Marina Morozova, challenged the decision which has now been overturned. She says the ruling saved the man from persecution in his homeland: “He might have become a political prisoner in Uzbekistan and be injured or even killed in prison. The decision of the court today has restored justice,” Ms Morozova believes.

Mr Djuraev is also seeking international protection from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. In September the European Court on Human Rights demanded that he should not be deported until his status is clear.