2013-08-29 15:45:00

Russian rights activists against deportation of Christian refugee to Iraq

Moscow, August 29, Interfax - Human rights campaigners have called on the Russian authorities not to deport a refugee who might be executed in Iraq for converting to Christianity.

The Russian Federal Migration Service's branch for the Saratov Region ordered that the man be deported to Iraq within five days even without waiting for a court's decision on his complaint protesting the refusal to grant him temporary asylum in Russia, the Civil Support Committee said in a statement seen by Interfax.

"This notification about his deportation means an invitation to execution," the rights activists said.

Should he be deported to Iraq, the man might be sentenced to death by the Iraqi authorities for converting to Christianity, they said.

"Muhammad, who renamed himself Joseph, is doomed to persecution by everyone, including his own family. He fled to Russia, which he saw as a humane state with Christian traditions," the rights activists said.

"Muhammad applied for refugee status in Russia. But his request was denied. Muhammad then applied for temporary asylum, which was also denied. Our state did not find any humane reasons that could justify this Iraqi citizen's temporary presence on Russian territory. When deciding to reject Muhammad's temporary asylum application, the Federal Migration Service's department for the Saratov Region managed to totally overlook how an Islamic country might treat a person who converted to Christianity," they said.