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Moscow Court Rules Uzbek Journalist Feruz May Leave Russia

Hudoberdy Nurmatov, who writes under the pen name Ali Feruz, sits in a court room in Moscow in August.
Hudoberdy Nurmatov, who writes under the pen name Ali Feruz, sits in a court room in Moscow in August.

A Moscow court has rescinded a previous ruling to deport Uzbek journalist Ali Feruz from Russia, opening the way for him to leave for a third country.

A judge at the district court said on February 9 that Feruz must remain at an immigration detention center until all documents needed for departing Russia are filed.

Following the ruling by the Basmanny district court, Feruz's lawyer said his client hopes to leave Russia for Germany next week and has plane reservations for February 15.

Another Moscow court on February 2 ordered the process of deporting Feruz back to Uzbekistan to be halted, and ruled he could leave for another country.

Feruz, a journalist for the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, has been held in an immigration detention center since August 2017.

Feruz -- a pen name for Hudoberdi Nurmatov -- was born in Soviet Russia in 1986 but moved to Uzbekistan and took Uzbek citizenship at the age of 17.

He fled Uzbekistan in 2008, saying he had been detained and tortured by the Uzbek security services.

The Basmanny district court in October upheld a decision by immigration authorities to deny Feruz political asylum, saying he had failed to prove he faced danger if returned to Uzbekistan.

In November, the court ruled that he had been working illegally in Russia as a correspondent for Novaya Gazeta and ordered him deported.

But the court suspended the order after an August ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that Feruz should not be deported until the Strasbourg court examined the case.

The Feruz case has sparked an international outcry, with human rights groups among others urging Russia not to deport him.

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