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Germany detains Chechen refugee at Russia’s request

6 July 2022
Illustrative photo. German Ministry of Interior.

Authorities in Germany have detained a 60-year-old Chechen man with refugee status in Austria on a Russian arrest warrant, according to the Chechen human rights group, Vayfond.

Vayfond said the man was detained due to a red notice from Interpol issued at the request of Russia.

‘At the moment, events are probably being carried out as part of an extradition check. The Chechen should not have been detained after establishing that Austria had recognised his refugee status’, Vayfond told OC Media.

The man received asylum in Austria in 2004.

The group said that his detention was unlawful since ‘putting his name on the international wanted list of Interpol violated the organisation’s constitution — people with refugee status are prohibited from entering the Interpol database.’

RFE/RL quoted the detainee’s brother as saying that he had gone on holiday with his family and crossed the border with Germany accidentally. There, he was reportedly stopped by police.

Vayfond told OС Мedia that he had a lawyer and that his extradition should not be possible due to his refugee status. 

‘We are 90% sure that the man will not be extradited to Russia, and we hope that Germany will respect human rights. If he is deported, he will face mortal danger and, at best, a life sentence’, they said.

According to Vayfond, Russia placed the man is wanted by Russia because he was a member of the Chechen resistance.

‘It is unknown exactly what charges Russia has brought against him since Russia has not yet sent an extradition request to Germany. This request will make it clear what exactly Russia is attributing to him. But we hope it will not come to that, and that he will be released, they said.

The group added that thousands of Chechens had been illegally placed on Interpol’s wanted list and that they face ‘terrible consequences’ if returned to Russia.

In recent years, German authorities have several times deported Chechens to Russia, where they were mistreated.

In April 2021, 32-year-old asylum seeker Nurmagomed Mamuev was deported from Germany, after which he disappeared in Chechnya.

In a similar vein, in April 2022, German authorities deported Azerbaijani political activist Samir Ashurov, who had sought asylum in the country, to Azerbaijan, where the authorities arrested him.

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