What’s an administrative expulsion or two among friends?

If the Russian authorities expel Abdugani Kamaliyev (Tursinov), an Uzbek married to a Russian national, tonight, they will do so in violation of their own legislation and the European Court of Human Rights!


And they cannot say that they didn't know in time.

A Less forgone conclusion

While the world endeavours to understand exactly how predictable the results of the Russian elections were, the fate of one individual in Russia hangs in the balance TODAY.

Abdugani Kamaliyev (Tursinov), an Uzbek married to a Russian national is in danger of being unlawfully expelled to Uzbekistan. He disappeared last week, and it was only through the concentrated efforts of human rights defenders that he was not sent back on the weekly flight to Tashkent from Tyumen on Tuesday 27 November.

Although it was finally revealed on 29 November (!) that a court ruling dated 23 November had ordered his "administrative expulsion" and this ruling has now been appealed, the secrecy over the whole matter is highly disturbing.

The appeal hearing was scheduled for today, 4 December. This is presumably deliberate since the next flight to Tashkent is tonight. However the lawyer the Civic Assistance Committee found to represent Kamaliyev (Tursinov) had a long-standing commitment for today and left all necessary documentation with an application for a postponement. This was clearly ignored, and the appeal court upheld the original expulsion order.

A fax was received from the European Court of Human Rights this morning, at very least 12 hours before the flight, calling for a temporary halt to any expulsion measures.

If the Russian authorities ignore this, they are flouting Strasbourg and their international commitments.

As we have already reported, the level of Russian cooperation with the repressive regime of Uzbekistan's Islam Karimov and the use of administrative expulsions even after applications for extradition have been rejected, are giving serious cause for concern. The Prosecutor General found no grounds a year ago to extradite Kamaliyev (Tursinov). Since the only conceivable justification for violating the right to family life enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights would be that the individual involved posed a threat to national security, any attempt to expel a person married to a Russian national who was not deemed liable to extradition is a clear violation of both Russian law and Russia's international commitments.

This is a case where public scrutiny could act as a potent force in preventing a wrong before it is too late.

Halya Coynash
Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group


What's an administrative expulsion or two among friends?

Over recent times the Russian authorit ies have shown an inexplicable willingness to cooperate with repressive regimes. No holds barred, it would seem, for their new friends. This, unfortunately, has included no legislative bars.

On 23 November an Uzbek – Abdugani Kamaliyev (Tursinov) who is married to a Russian citizen left his home in Tyumen in the morning and did not return. His wife, Maimuna Kamaliyeva [whose name Abdugani assumed after their marriage] called the Civic Assistance Committee who have had considerable experience of such "disappearances" and immediately began trying to ascertain what had happened and to ensure that yet another Uzbek was not secretly and illegally handed over to the Uzbek Security Service.

The initially evasive answers, and then elusive behaviour, of high-ranking officials in the Tyumen Police Department only fuelled fears. The Civic Assistance Committee turned to the Ombudsman's assistants who would seem, thankfully, to have helped prevent a forced expulsion on the weekly flight leaving for Tashkent during the early hours of 28 November.

It should be noted that on the morning of 29 November personnel at the special holding centre for people awaiting expulsion claimed that there was nobody called Kamaliyev (Tursinov) being held. However during the day details emerged of a court ruling from 23 November allowing the administrative expulsion of Kamaliyev (Tursinov) from the Russian Federation .

The Uzbek authorities' request for Tursinov's extradition was turned down a year ago. We would not venture to speak for the Russian Prosecutor General and it is not known on what grounds he rejected the application. We must, however, acknowledge our own difficulty in giving credence to the charge presented against Tursinov of "encroachment on the constitutional order of the Republic of Uzbekistan" given that the actions were in 1990, when the Soviet Union was still alive and kicking. Since extradition is only allowed if the "crime" is classified as such in both countries, the task of proving an attempt to overthrow the constitutional system of an as-yet non-existent state strikes us as bordering on the insurmountable.

Unfortunately, the authorit ies in Russia have on several occasions demonstrated a readiness to overcome such hurdles through other means. As recently as September this year, a refusal to extradite Uzbek national Yashin Dzhurayev was followed by an attempt at "administrative expulsion", which was only thwarted by a timely appeal from the European Court of Human Rights . Rustam Muminov, to name but one, was not so fortunate, and this was despite intervention from the European Court.

Should you be having difficulty grasping what exactly is understood by administrative expulsion, you are not alone. As mentioned, Abdugani Kamaliyev (Tursinov) is the husband of a Russian national. The right to family life enshrined in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights is subject only to such interference "as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, ". We would respectfully remind all parties that the Prosecutor General found no such risk to national security and rejected a call to extradite Mr Kamaliyev (Tursinov).

The above considerations doubtless help to explain the reluctance of the law enforcement agencies in Tyumen to reveal any information as to where Abdugani Kamaliyev (Tursinov) is being held despite a court order issued on the day he disappeared. Presumably the court order was "for the records" only and attempts to lodge the legally envisaged appeals were to be prevented at all cost. .

Given the veil of secrecy over this whole situation, we should perhaps mention one or two other details. Abdugani's wife reports that in September her husband received a call from an Uzbek who said he was from the Prosecutor's office and who advised Abdugani to approach "Anton" from FSB [the Federal Security Service] in order to "return to your homeland quickly". Two days before his disappearance, Abdugani received a call from somebody who called himself Anton from FSB, and asked whether Abdugani would come to him, or whether they would have to collect him in handcuffs. One of the people from the holding centre who was on the 28 November flight managed to ring Abdugani's wife from the airport and pass on the message from her husband that he needed help and that "Anton had put him there".

None of this can be verified however the obvious wish by the authorities to conceal Abdugani's whereabouts makes it all sound highly probable.

A lawyer has been found for Abdugani Kamaliyev (Tursinov), however in view of the extraordinarily underhand manner in which all parties involved in this latest attempt at administrative expulsion have behaved, we believe that media attention is vital to ensure that Russian Federation legislation is scrupulously observed.

Whatever the opinion of certain representatives of the Russian authorities, we should be in no doubt whatsoever that an administrative expulsion or two (more exactly, seven just of those confirmed) among friends means people's lives being placed in serious danger and the collapse of the guarantees on which any law-based system depends.

Halya Coynash
Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group