IFJ welcomes release of Uzbek journalist Ali Feruz in Russia

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has today joined its affiliate, the Russian Federation of Journalists (RUJ), in welcoming the release and departure to Germany of Uzbek journalist Ali Feruz, who was held for six months in a Russian immigration detention centre on accusations of working illegally for a Russian media. On 15 February, Russia’s Supreme Court overruled the deportation order issued against Ali Feruz in November to Uzbekistan, where he reportedly faced a terrible fate, and allowed him to leave for a third country. The journalist arrived yesterday in Frankfurt, Germany. In October, Russia denied him political asylum, saying he had failed to prove he faced danger if returned to Uzbekistan, according to reports. The journalist and gay rights activist Ali Feruz, who worked at ‘Novaya Gazeta’ newspaper, was detained last August in Russia, where he was living after fleeing Uzbekistan in 2008. He left this country claiming he had been tortured by Uzbek security services and he feared he could be tortured or worst if sent back, reports added. Tim Shafir, head of the International Department of the Russian Federation of Journalists and member of the IFJ´s Executive Committee, said: “We welcome the court's decision to release ‘Novaya Gazeta’ journalist Ali Feruz as well as the fact that he has been given the opportunity to move to Germany. We have defended and continue to defend values of free speech and free distribution of information and we are convinced that a journalist is the key mediator between the authorities, society and members of the public, forming the basis of our modernity. We are sure that our Uzbekistani colleague Ali Feruz will continue journalistic work and serving an important mission of the integration of countries and peoples.” The IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger added: “We join our Russian affiliate in welcoming the releases of Ali Feruz and we are glad that Germany is going to be his new home so that he can continue his journalistic profession and human rights activities.¨

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