Aibarchyn Shamshieva came to Russia in search of work. But now she is seeking justice.
Shamshieva, a 32-year-old migrant worker from Kyrgyzstan, says she is planning legal action against Moscow police officers, accusing them of abuse and intimidation.
Shamshieva says the officers paid an unexpected visit early on April 23 to the modest one-room Moscow apartment she and her husband share along with several other Kyrgyz migrant workers.
The officers took all of them to a police station without giving them a chance to present their legal documents, Shamshieva says. "I and my husband obtained newly introduced legal work permits in March but the officers didn't even give us time to take the papers with us and hurried us to the police station,".
"When we arrived at the station they didn't want to hear whether we had a legal permit," she adds.
Shamshieva claims the officers put psychological pressure on the group and even threatened them with physical abuse, demanding a written statement that they did not possess a Russian work permit.
Shamshieva says she refused to give such a statement and spent the night in detention along with her husband and the other migrant workers. "They gave us each a chair on which we sat all night. We were all hungry," she says.
Shamshieva says they were released the following day. "The others signed the documents the police wanted them to sign but I refused and asserted my innocence."
To prove her innocence, and to bring her alleged police abusers to justice, Shamshieva says she is determined to take the matter a step further.
Shamshieva says police sent her case to a Moscow district court, where the judge ruled her detention was illegal. "The law enforcement officers who detained me illegally with the intention of a subsequent deportation should not get away with this," she says.
Shamshieva plans to file a lawsuit against a police officer who she says put psychological pressure on her and threatened her with physical abuse during her brief detention.
She has approached the Moscow-based Civic Assistance Committee, which provides legal assistance to foreign migrants, for help. "Her case has been sent to the court [by the police], which means her name could be included to the central database of foreign nationals living in Russia," says Marina Leksina, who works for the group.
"Once the name is registered there, no one pays any attention to what the judge's ruling was," Leksina says. "We have now prepared a formal complaint about the psychological pressure [by a police officer] against Shamshieva, and will approach the relevant institutions."
Shamshieva is a good example for migrant workers, many of whom don't know their own rights, Leksina says.