MOSCOW, August 12 (RIA Novosti) – Prosecutors said Monday they would consider a request by a Russian human rights group to investigate a camp set up by the Moscow authorities for foreigners awaiting deportation. The rights group claims that the camp is “unlawful.”
Police officials said earlier that about 600 people, mostly Vietnamese nationals, were living in tents set up about two weeks ago in the camp in eastern Moscow, following a series of police raids targeting illegal immigrants.
The improvised camp is to be closed within several days and those contained in it who will not leave Russia are to move to other places “more convenient for them,” a spokesman for Russia's human rights ombudsman, Vladimir Lukin, said Monday, citing Moscow authorities.
Human rights campaigners from the Civil Assistance (Grazhdanstvoye Sodeistviye) NGO, which has repeatedly visited the camp, earlier voiced concerns over conditions there and what the group claimed were a series of violations of human rights.
Civil Assistance head Svetlana Gannushkina claimed that there was no law allowing state officials to keep the detained migrants at the camp. “What has been done is a crime,” she said.
Under Russian law, detained foreigners are supposed to be kept at special centers for non-citizens. But the Moscow authorities ran out of space for such detainees after police took hundreds of people into custody in a series of round-ups focusing on outdoor markets.
The issue of illegal immigration has become a focal point in the campaign for the Moscow mayoral election on September 8. The city authorities have justified the raids targeting immigrants as part of a wider effort to clamp down on crime in Moscow.