Deported to Moscow, Directly to Prison






The Austrian media has reported that one of the Chechen asylum seekers, who were recently extradited from Vienna to Moscow, was abducted at a Moscow airport and his fate is unknown.

According to the information, Mrs. Raissa G contacted her family lawyer in Austria and explained what happened at the Moscow Airport when they arrived. “On the plane, my two young daughters and I were sitting in another area, away from my husband. We arrived in Moscow at about 5:00pm. When we passed through the gates, some police officers asked whether or not we belonged to the I. family. They said that they had been waiting for Rasambek I. all day. When they saw my husband, they immediately pounced on him. They tied him up, gagged him, took him out of the airport and threw him into a car,” she said. Since the incident, his family has not obtained any new information as to the whereabouts of the 47 year old Rasambek.

“This arrest is one example of the cases that we warned authorities about again and again before their extradition from Austria,” said Alev Korun, the Green Party’s human rights officer.

“It is a human rights scandal,” said a staff member from the St. Marx Migration Association.

Indeed, Rasambek’s situation was clear, but Austrian authorities chose not to believe him. Rasambek had arrived Austria in 2007 after facing political persecution in the Russian occupied Chechen Republic of Ichkeria. During the asylum process, he explained that he had helped supporters of late Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov. He was hiding video records that came from Maskhadov. Moreover, the Vienna Therapy Center for Torture Victims has prepared a medical report which indicates Rasambek’s severely traumatized state. Even so, the Austrian authorities also chose to turn a blind eye to this report.

The Austrian authorities do not want to talk about him, but Austrian Interior Ministry Spokesmen Karlheinz Grundböck said that Rasambek’s asylum application was rejected legally and that what happened in Moscow is a Russian affair; it simply is not their problem as the expulsion was admissible.

Austrian journalists were able to contact the Moscow Airport’s Police Department spokeswoman Yulia Yermakova, who confirmed Rasambek’s arrest. She said that there is an active arrest warrant out for him due to a ‘car theft’ in March of 2001 in West Siberia. The interesting point here is that the arrest warrant was signed on January 27, 2012, about 11 years after the alleged crime. However, authorities from the Russian Interior Ministry did not provide any answers for the Austrian journalists.

The famous Russian human rights advocate Svetlana Gannushkina pointed out that political opponents in Russia are often persecuted for alleged crimes. “If someone is on the wanted list in Russia, it does not mean that they necessarily committed the crime. Many of these allegations are fabricated. This is especially true if we are talking about Chechens. The alleged crimes are almost always fictional rather than real,” said Gannushkina.

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