Russian court halts deportation of journalist who faced death sentence

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

A Russian appeals court has suspended the deportation order of a gay journalist who helped uncover the injustices done against gay men in Chechnya.

Radio Free Europe reported that a judge has temporarily suspended the order being implemented to deport Ali Feruz.

An activist stands naked, wrapped in a rainbow flag, in a mock cage

(Photo by JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)

The Moscow City Court ruled today that the gay Novaya Gazeta reporter could not be deported until the European Court of Human Rights had examined his appeal.

The ruling comes after Feruz, real name Hudoberdi Nurmatov, was ordered to be deported for allegedly violating immigration law at the beginning of this month (August 1).

Feruz would have been deported to Uzbekistan, a country which he fled after facing persecution.

Human rights organisations including Amnesty International believe that if he returns to Uzbekistan he will be subject to severe violence and could potentially face a criminal sentence.

Same-sex relations are illegal in his home country and if charged he could face a sentence of up to three years.

The country also persecutes journalists as it has extreme censorship of the media.

The 30-year-old fears that he risks facing the death sentence because of his sexuality.

Feruz’s mother and siblings are all Russian citizens.

He left Russia at 17 and sought out Uzbek citizenship however he fled the country in 2008 after he was tortured by the Uzbek security services.

Before Feruz fled Uzbekistan he was married to a citizen of Kyrgyzstan. When he was kidnapped by security services, he says that he was asked to work for them, but was refused and was severely beaten.

By 2011 he had moved to Russia and in 2013, he came out as gay and split from his wife.

Since moving to Russia he has been refused asylum multiple times and earlier this year he was detained for 12 hours.

Colleagues of Feruz fear that even his asylum application is accepted he could still be deported to Uzbekistan.

It is believed that Dmitry Muratov, the editor in chief of Novaya Gazeta has contacted Russian President Vladimir Putin in hopes of protecting the journalist.

He is being held in a holding centre until a resolution is reached.

Feruz frequently writes about LGBT rights, hate crimes and disability rights and helped to uncover the injustices against gay men living in Chechnya.