Thursday, October 23, 2014


Documented: Five Cases Of Abduction

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In Russia, Fears Of Central Asians Being Abducted To Face Rough Justice At Home

Last month, Tajik national Abdulvosi Latipov disappeared without a trace, just days after being released from a jail in Russia. His family believes he was abducted by Tajik security forces and transferred home to face possible torture as a suspected terrorist. Rights-watchers say the case is part of a growing trend in which Tajiks, Uzbeks, and other Central Asians facing politically motivated charges at home are being kidnapped in Russia and transferred to jails back home -- despite legal safeguards meant to protect them from extradition.
Lawyers representing Central Asians before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) documented at least five additional cases of abduction in 2011-12. All five men had repeatedly sought asylum within the Russian legal system before turning to Strasbourg.

In all five cases, the men had received temporary stays of extradition because of fears of torture or ill treatment if returned home.


MURODZHON ABDULKHAKOV
Uzbekistan
Abducted: August 23, 2011


Abdulkhakov, now 33, was kidnapped in broad daylight in central Moscow by two men in plain clothes and in full view of police. That night, he was transported to Tajikistan, where a court ordered him to be held in custody pending extradition to Uzbekistan, where he is wanted for religious extremism. He was eventually released after three months and is believed to be in hiding in Tajikistan. The ECHR in October 2012 ruled that Russian authorities were complicit in Abdulkhakov's abduction and ordered them to pay nearly 38,000 euros in compensation.


SUKHROB KOZIEV
Tajikistan
Abducted: August 23, 2011


Koziev was wanted in Tajikistan for alleged involvement in the banned Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. He was apprehended in Moscow at the same time as Abdulkhakov. He was then transported from Domodedovo airport to the Tajik city of Khudjand, despite the fact that he was not carrying a passport or any valid travel documents. There, he was forced under torture to sign a confession and pledge he had turned himself in voluntarily. Koziev, 36, has since been sentenced to 28 years in prison.      


NIZOMKHON JURAEV
Tajikistan
Abducted: March 29, 2012


Nizomkhon Juraev
Nizomkhon Juraev
Juraev, 45, vanished immediately after release from detention in Moscow and "reappeared" in Dushanbe days later despite having no passport or money. Juraev, a former parliament deputy and businessman with close ties to the family of Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon, was then shown on Tajik television claiming he had voluntarily come to Tajikistan and was surrendering to authorities on forgery and corruption charges. Four years earlier, dozens of Juraev's former business partners had alleged they had been tortured and subjected to electric shocks to goad them into providing incriminating evidence against Juraev. Amnesty International argued that Juraev was at high risk of abuse if he returned to Tajikistan.


SAVRIDDIN JURAEV
Tajikistan
Abducted: October 31, 2011


Like Koziev, Juraev had been placed on the Tajik wanted list for his alleged involvement with the IMU along the Tajik-Uzbek border, a charge he denies. He was kidnapped two days after being released from prison after serving 18 months pending an extradition request. Juraev, now 27, had received temporary asylum and had been recognized by the UN refugee agency as a person in need of international protection. He was transported from Domodedovo to Khudjand despite the fact that he was carrying his asylum certificate and had no passport. In April he was sentenced to 26 years in prison. He reports being tortured in detention.


RUSTAM ZOKHIDOV
Uzbekistan
Abducted: December 21, 2011


Zokhidov was abducted from his home in St. Petersburg and flown the same night from the city's Pulkovo airport to Uzbekistan. A native of Samarkand, he was wanted for distributing socially dangerous materials and membership in the banned Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir. Zokhidov, now 39, was detained in Samarkand before being moved to Tashkent. His current situation is unclear.

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