On 16 August 2017, Human Constanta reported that Belarusian authorities wanted to expel to Russia a refugee from Chechnya, where he would be put under risk of torture.
Out of safety concerns, we hid his identity and called the man “Zelimkhan”. His real name is Imran Salamov. Today we found out that on September 5, around 5 pm, in violation of Belarusian law, Imran was forcefully expelled to Russia.
On 13 April 2017, Imran was detained in Brest after Russian authorities had placed him on the interstate wanted list a week before this. On the same day, the Department for Citizenship and Migration of the Department of Internal Affairs of the Leninsky district of Brest made a decision to detain Imran and to expel him forcefully.
On April 20, Imran filed a request for international protection in Belarus, claiming that he had been tortured several times in Chechnya and that he had left the country of origin out of fear of being exposed to torture again. In accordance with Belarusian law, the expulsion was suspended for the period required for assessment of the need for protection. Also in a separate procedure, Imran appealed against the decision to expel him forcefully.
On August 16, the Leninsky district court of Brest upheld the decision on forceful expulsion. After that, Imran had 10 days to appeal against the judgment. On August 25, a cassation appeal was filed with the Brest Region Court.
On August 18, Belarus issues a decision to deny Imran a refugee status. He received the decision on August 23. After this, he had 15 days to appeal against the denial. This term expires on September 7. On September 6, when a lawyer came to visit Imran at the detention center and to hand over to him the appeal against the decision to deny him international protection, she learned that Imran had been expelled a day before.
Belarusian office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR Belarus followed Imran’s situation.
Human Constanta deems that the expulsion has been performed in violation of Belarusian law. According to the law “On legal status of foreigners and persons without citizenship in the Republic of Belarus”, the expulsion process has to be suspended in case a foreigner applies for international protection for the period necessary to take the decision, and until the legally envisaged term to appeal against a negative decision expires, or until a court’s decision to dismiss the appeal against the decision concerning the application enters into force. Imran was expelled before the term to appeal against the refusal to grant him international protection expired. Accordingly, the expulsion was executed unlawfully. Human Constanta will appeal to the prosecutor’s office to initiate an inquiry.
According to official data, between 2004 and the first half of 2017, 86 Russian nationals applied for asylum in Belarus. None of the applications were successful.
Contacts for additional information:
If you want to get detailed comments, please phone +375293704556 (Human Constanta’s assistance-to-refugees Mission in Brest) or send an email to [email protected]