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Russia: Investigate the abduction of film producer and asylum-seeker

Mirsobir Khamidkariev, a young film producer, was seeking asylum in Russia when he was abducted in broad daylight and sent back to Uzbekistan where he was tortured.

On a warm summer’s evening two years ago, 35-year-old Uzbekistani film producer Mirsobir Khamidkariev was sitting in a taxi outside a pharmacy in Moscow. He was waiting for his wife to pick up some medication for their seven-month-old son. Mirsobir had spent the last three and a half years in Russia, after fleeing Uzbekistan for fear of persecution.

Suddenly two men got into Mirsobir’s taxi and forced the driver to speed away.

When the taxi eventually stopped, these men – Russian security agents – took Mirsobir to a basement, put a bag over his head and beat him for the rest of the day. The next day, they took him to the airport where Uzbekistani security agents were waiting for him on the tarmac. Mirsobir was flown back to Uzbekistan. His family had no information as to his whereabouts for two weeks.

In Uzbekistan, security forces tortured Mirsobir for the next two months. They beat him – knocking out his teeth and breaking his ribs –  until he gave a ‘confession’ which was used to incriminate him. This ‘confession’ led to an eight-year prison sentence on “anti-state” charges and Mirsobir was sent to a remote prison camp, where he remains today. He has never been given the opportunity to challenge his abduction.

 Mirsobir’s trial was unfair, and since his torture he’s been denied access to medical attention he needs. The Russian authorities have failed to conduct any effective investigation into his abduction. And he’s not the only asylum seeker from Uzbekistan who’s been abducted in Russia and sent back to harm at the hands of the Uzbekistani authorities – there are dozens more like him.

Join us and demand the Russian authorities effectively investigate Mirsobir’s abduction and forced return to Uzbekistan, which led to his torture

Dear Prosecutor General,

Mirsobir Khamidkariev, an asylum seeker from Uzbekistan, was abducted by officers of the Russian Federal Security Service in June 2014 in Moscow. He was held incommunicado in an unidentified location for a day, forced to wear a bag over his head, and subjected to repeated beatings. The next day, he was handed over to Uzbekistani security agents on the tarmac at an airport in Moscow and forcibly returned to Uzbekistan where he was tortured by Uzbekistani security forces for two months. 

Mirsobir Khamidkariev was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment on “anti-state” charges following a flagrantly unfair trial. No one has been held accountable for the human rights violations that Mirsobir Khamidkariev has suffered in Russia and Uzbekistan.   

Russia is party to numerous human rights treaties, which prohibit transfers of a person to a place where he or she is at a real risk of torture. 

As a matter of priority I urge you to: 

- Open a full, independent and thorough criminal investigation into the abduction, ill-treatment and rendition of Mirsobir Khamidkariev and bring those responsible to justice;

- Call on the Uzbekistani authorities to either give Mirsobir Khamidkariev a new fair trial or release him.