MOSCOW, June 5 (RIA Novosti) – The security agencies in Russia and other former Soviet republics have been involved in abductions, illegal extradition and torture of thousands of citizens of Central Asian states falsely accused of Islamic radicalism, international human rights watchdog Amnesty International said this week.
Amnesty said the governments of Central Asian states can easily extradite their nationals from Russia and other former Soviet republics under regional cooperation deals designed to combat terrorism and jihadist groups.
With a common institutional culture dating back to the Soviet times, the security forces of the former Soviet republics have a shared perception of Islamist radicalism and extradite wanted individuals “with a regularity that amounts to a region-wide renditions program,” Amnesty said in a report published Wednesday.
When human rights groups and the European Court of Human Rights intervene to prevent such handovers, “cynical subversions of international law” such as disappearances and abductions are employed to secure transfers, it 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, Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia Program Director.
Many of those sent home, especially those suspected of extremism and terrorism-related offences, face torture and other forms of abuse while in custody, the London-based group said.
The authoritarian governments of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan have for years been trying to stamp out the threat of religious radicalism in their predominantly Islamic states. But international and domestic human rights groups have documented thousands of cases of conviction and imprisonment of ordinary Muslims who practice their faith outside government-approved mosques and religious institutions.
The group’s report detailed numerous cases of abduction of asylum-seekers and refugees from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan who have been spirited away and forcibly returned to their home countries to face torture and trials on trumped-up charges.
The group’s claims are supported by evidence from Russian human rights groups.
A 37-year-old Uzbek named Abdusamat Mirzayev was forcibly sent from the central Russian city of Bryansk to Uzbekistan Thursday morning by migration officers after a month-long detention, Moscow-based activist with the prominent Memorial human rights group Bakhrom Khamrayev said Friday.
He said the Uzbekistan authorities have accused Mirzayev of membership of a banned Islamic group, although his only crime was his four-year-long absence from home. “If an Uzbek is not home for a couple of years, he gets blacklisted,” Khamrayev told RIA Novosti.
He said Mirzayev's registration expired while he was in custody which gave migration officers a reason to deport him.
Millions of labor migrants from Uzbekistan and other Central Asian states have come to Russia in recent years despite often getting poor treatment by employers, and meeting hostility from local people. Uzbekistan’s President Islam Karimov said last month he was “disgusted” by Uzbeks who leave the nation of 30 million in search of work.
There was no immediate reaction to the report from Russia’s Federal Security Service, which requested any enquiries be sent to it by fax. The Federal Migration Service and Interior Ministry did not answer telephone calls.