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Chechen ‘torture victim’ deported from France to Russia and immidiately arrested

15 April 2021
Magomed Gadaev. Image via the BBC.

French authorities have deported a Chechen asylum seeker who was allegedly the victim of torture back to Russia. Magomed Gadaev was immediately detained on his arrival at the request of the Chechen authorities.

Gadaev was detained in France on 9 April and put on a plane to Moscow. He attempted to cut open his stomach, however, this only delayed the flight by 36 minutes. 

Upon his arrival in Moscow, border guards detained Gadaev for more than 12 hours in the transit zone of Sheremetyevo Airport without legal grounds. According to local human rights activists, the border guards from Russia’s FSB stated this was done due to an oral request by the FSB in Chechnya.

Gadaev was then put on a plane to the city of Novy Urengoy, in the Urals region of Russia, where officers took him to his brother's residence. 

Several hours later, men from Chechnya arrived and requested he come with them, which he declined. Gadaev then appealed to the police in Novy Urengoy for protection as part of a criminal torture case in which he is a witness. 

In 2010, Gadaev fled Russia after claiming to have been tortured and illegally imprisoned. 

He testified remotely from Paris in 2012 to the Investigative Committee of Russia against high-ranking security officials. The testimony took place with the participation of a French prosecutor.

Despite the request for protection, Gadaev was handed over to Chechen policemen in Novy Urengoy and taken to Chechnya. 

Gadaev’s lawyer said he could find no official reasons for his detention and were not aware of his current whereabouts. Human rights activists have reported that Gadaev was not involved in any criminal case.

The Organisation Assembly of Chechens of Europe, of which Gadaev is a member, reported that on Tuesday afternoon that Gadaev was initially brought home to his mother and sister in the village of Zakan-Yurt in the Achkhoy-Martan District in the west of Chechnya before again being taken away by security forces after several hours.

Tatyana Lokshina, a spokesperson for Human Rights Watch in Russia, told  RFE/RL that his lawyer had informed them that Gadaev was being held in the Urus-Martan District Police Department.

Both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have condemned the French authorities for sending Gadaev to Russia. They warned that Gadaev could be subjected to torture.

Prior to his deportation, Amnesty International had campaigned for the French authorities not to deport him.

Lawyers in France have filed an urgent appeal for the Limoges Administrative Court to apply measures to protect Gadaev. The first instance court must make a decision within 48 hours.

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