News / Europe

Report: Ex-Soviet States Return People to Torture in Central Asia

FILE - Russian opposition activist Leonid Razvozzhayev is escorted into a court room in Moscow, Russia,  April 1, 2013. Amnesty International says he was abducted by Russian state security agents operating in Ukraine.
FILE - Russian opposition activist Leonid Razvozzhayev is escorted into a court room in Moscow, Russia, April 1, 2013. Amnesty International says he was abducted by Russian state security agents operating in Ukraine.
Reuters
Amnesty International accused Russia, Ukraine and the five Central Asian states on Wednesday of colluding in abductions and unlawful transfers of asylum-seekers and refugees back to Central Asia where they faced the risk of torture.

In a report, the London-based human rights group enumerated cases of asylum-seekers in Russia and Ukraine being spirited away from their apartments or picked up on the street and being forcibly flown back to the Central Asian state of Uzbekistan.

In a separate statement, Amnesty said that when intervention of the European Court of Human Rights obstructed the handover of individuals, “cynical subversions of international law” were used to secure the transfer.

“In the name of national security, member states of the Commonwealth of Independent States are increasingly cooperating in returning people to Central Asian countries where they are at real risk of torture or other ill-treatment,” the report said.

Abductions and attempted abductions of asylum-seekers from Central Asia by security services of ex-Soviet states - often operating on each other's territory - was occurring with such regularity that they amounted to a “region-wide extraordinary renditions program,” it said.

Officials in Moscow and Tashkent were not immediately available to comment.

In Ukraine, the state migration service reacted sharply to the charges and denied that Kiev deported refugees.

“Are you asking us to justify ourselves? If they have facts, let them show these facts and we will look at them. We do not deport refugees,” said Sergiy Gunko, the service's spokesman. “It is not the first time that Amnesty International is giving out information that is not quite objective.”

Among cases cited in the report was that of Azamatzhon Ermakov, an Uzbek national, who fled Uzbekistan to Russia in March 2009 after being charged with alleged involvement in extremist religious groups.

After his request for asylum in Russia was turned down, the European Court for Human Rights issued an order requiring Russia to stay his extradition.

He was later detained by Russian police for illegal possession of weapons - though Ermakov said police had planted a grenade on him to support a trumped-up charge.

In January this year Amnesty was told that Ermakov had taken a flight back to the Uzbek capital of Tashkent after being released from detention.

“There is strong circumstantial evidence to indicate that he was abducted following his release from detention and put on a plane back to Uzbekistan,” the report said.

“Twenty years after the break-up of the Soviet Union, old collegiate ties, common institutional cultures and the shared perception across the region of the threat from Islamist extremist groups bind together the successor institutions to the Soviet KGB,” said John Dalhuisen, the group's Europe and Central Asia program director, in a comment issued by Amnesty.

In the past two years, the report said, authorities in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan had particularly intensified their efforts to “forcibly return members, or suspected, members of certain groups to Tajikistan and Uzbekistant notwithstanding the fact that they would face a real risk of torture”.

The report also highlighted the case of a Russian opposition activist, Leonid Razvozzhayev, who disappeared in Kyiv last October after consulting with a partner organization of the United Nations refugee agency.

He is now in Moscow where Russian investigators say he has been charged with preparing mass disorder. The Amnesty report said he had been abducted by Russian state security agents operating in Ukraine.

You May Like

Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving

Feasts centering on turkeys with an array of traditional sides and desserts are part of the holiday's traditions, which falls on the fourth Thursday in November More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid