According to BuzzFeed News, Russia is attempting to deport the gay journalist who broke the story about Chechnya’s imprisonment of gay men back to Uzbekistan — a country that he fled after being imprisoned for not complying with security forces.
Ali Feruz (née Khudoberdi Nurmatov) was tortured in and subsequently fled Uzbekistan in 2009 after the country’s notoriously brutal security forces attempted to make him inform on dissident friends. He then came to Russia, where he was born, and began working for the independent investigative Novaya Gazeta newspaper where he helped break the Chechnya gay persecution story earlier this year.
Due to a stolen passport and an inability to return to Uzbekistan to get a new one, Russian authorities arrested Feruz on August 1 and claimed he was living in the country illegally — despite his multiple rejected asylum applications.
“He said it is better to die than to go back to Uzbekistan,” Lena Kostyuchenko, a Novaya Gazeta, told BuzzFeed News after seeing Feruz in detention in Moscow. “He is in the shadow of death.”
She also said she sure that sending him back to Uzbekistan would be a death sentence.