MOSCOW -- A migrant rights defender from Uzbekistan who is being held at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport while facing deportation to Tashkent, where she says she may face torture, has applied for asylum in Ukraine.
Aleksandr Kim, an aide to Valentina Chupik, told RFE/RL on September 30 that the rights defender's representatives had filed applications on Chupik's behalf asking for asylum with Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry and the Ukrainian Embassy and the consulate-general in Moscow.
There was no official confirmation on that from Ukrainian authorities.
According to Kim, officials from Uzbekistan's Consulate visited Chupik in the immigration detention center at the airport on September 30 and took her picture for documents to bring her to Uzbekistan.
Chupik has said that she might be jailed, tortured, and even killed while in custody if she is deported back to her homeland.
Chupik, an Uzbek citizen who runs a migrant center in Moscow, said earlier that she was detained at the Sheremetyevo airport on September 25 after she returned to Moscow from Armenia.
According to her, officers of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) informed her that she has been deprived of her refugee status since September 17 and banned from entering Russia for 30 years. The move was made, the officers told her, because she presented either false information or forged documents to Russian authorities when she applied for refugee status in 2006, which Chupik called "an absolute nonsense."
Chupik fled Uzbekistan in 2006 after local authorities imposed pressure on her, trying to take control over her human rights organization there. She has lived in Moscow since then, providing legal defense and assistance to migrant workers from Central Asia.
The Committee for the Prevention of Torture has asked the European Court of Human Rights to prevent Chupik's possible deportation to Uzbekistan.