The border guards reiterated that they would not forward the application to representatives of the migration service without direct instructions from the management.
On the evening of March 8, five human rights organizations from different countries sent an appeal to the head of the Border Guard Service of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, General of the Army Vladimir Kulishov, with a call to ensure the possibility of applying for asylum to the Turkmen blogger Rozgeldy Choliyev. Copies of the document were also sent to the leadership of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia. The appeal was signed by representatives of the Human Rights Center «Memorial», Human Rights Watch, and International Partnership for Human Rights, the Turkmen Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and the Turkmen Initiative for Human Rights.
Choliev, a citizen of Turkmenistan who studied at a university in Karachay-Cherkessia until September 2020, has been in the international zone of Sheremetyevo Airport since March 2. For a week, the border guards refuse to accept his asylum application, which, according to Article 4 of the Law of the Russian Federation “On Refugees”, they must transfer to the Migration Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and try to force him to leave Russia. And the representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs generally abstained from resolving this situation.
The appeal notes that Choliev and his relatives in Turkmenistan are being persecuted because of his publications on the Internet. As a party to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, the Russian Federation is obliged to provide him with the opportunity to submit such an application within the framework of the procedure provided for by Russian law. As the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees makes clear, the pandemic should not be used as an excuse to deny asylum seekers access and deny them the right to seek asylum.
Human rights activists ask to take into account the humanitarian aspect of the case of Choliev, who has a wife with a young son in Russia.
Over the past week, appeals on the Choliev case were sent to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Border Guard Service, and the office of the Commissioner for Human Rights in Russia. However, there has been no response from the authorities yet. This morning, the border guards again told Choliyev that they would not pass on any of his statements to representatives of the migration service unless they received direct instructions from the leadership.
In recent days, the Choliev case has attracted increasing attention at the international level. Meanwhile, according to Turkmen human rights activists, the former student has been on hunger strike for several days, and Russian officials are refusing help in an attempt to force him to leave.