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Finland Deported Tortured Chechen to Russia


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Finnish police deported a Chechen asylum seeker to Russia on Thursday. He is yet another case where immigration authorities in EU countries have refused protection to people who have full reason to fear for their safety in their country of origin. The man was deported to the very country whose authorities tortured him and threatened his family members.

Finnish police refused to wait for a statement from the UN Committee Against Torture (CAT) on the asylum seeker’s case. Unfortunately, the CAT statement on staying the deportation order came an hour too late, when the man was already on the train to St Petersburg.

The fact that the Chechen man was tortured has been well documented in his asylum application. Finnish law prohibits the authorities from deporting people to countries where they may face the death penalty, torture, or other inhuman treatment.

Members of the Chechen and Ingush communities in Finland held a demonstration to express their indignation at the treatment of the man today at 15:15 outside the Finnish Immigration Service and submitted an open letter to the authority:

Dear Sir/Madam,

We, representatives of the Chechen people residing in Finland, would like to draw your attention to the case of the Chechen asylum seeker, [name withheld], who is to be deported today to Russia.

The grave and dangerous situation in which this person, a senior member of the Chechen community, finds himself today greatly worries all of the members of our community. His compatriots — both Chechen and Ingush — are well aware about the difficult fate that this man has had to face.

It has been established that he has been subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment by the Russian authorities, including kidnapping and physical torture by electric shocks.

It is also known that other relatives of [name withheld] have been persecuted by the Russian authorities and fled from Russia; his children and wife have fled to Turkey and his brother, a well-known political activist, has been granted political asylum in an EU country.

We do understand that coming up with this statement on such a short notice to the officials of the Finnish Immigration Service may not influence the outcome of his situation. However, the seriousness of the situation and the imminent threat to the life and security of a senior member of our community forbids us from being silent.

We ask the Finnish authorities to postpone the deportation at least until all due documentation has been submitted and responded to. This includes a response from the UN Committee Against Torture (CAT), where the case of [name withheld] is being reviewed. Waiting for the resolution from CAT is essential and may prevent the Finnish Immigration Service from commiting an irreversible mistake that would damage its reputation in regards to the observation of human rights.

Members of the Chechen and Ingush communities in Finland


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