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Russian Court Suspends Deportation Order Against Novaya Gazeta Journalist

Journalist Ali Feruz (aka Hudoberdi Nurmatov)
Journalist Ali Feruz (aka Hudoberdi Nurmatov)

The Moscow City Court ordered the deportation process against journalist Ali Feruz stopped and has granted him permission to leave Russia.

The February 2 decision followed a January 22 ruling by the Supreme Court overturning the city court's earlier decision to deport Feruz to Uzbekistan and ordering it to hear the case a second time.

The high court ordered the municipal court to take into consideration the fact that Feruz had a document from the International Committee of the Red Cross allowing travel to Germany.

Feruz, a journalist for the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, remains for now in the immigrant detention center where he has been held 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 members of the Uzbek security services.

In October, a Moscow district court upheld a decision by immigration authorities to deny Feruz political asylum, saying he had failed to prove he faces danger in Uzbekistan.

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

The court, however, suspended the deportation order in compliance with an August ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) that Feruz could not be deported until the Strasbourg court had examined the case. The ECHR began looking into the case in December 2017.

The deportation decision provoked a national and international outcry, with human rights groups and intellectuals calling on the Kremlin not to deport Feruz.

Feruz, who speaks at least six languages, earned plaudits for his Novaya Gazeta coverage of Moscow's largely marginalized communities of migrant workers from Central Asia.

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