2013-09-03 10:01:00

Russia grants asylum to Iraqi citizen facing death penalty at home for conversion to Christianity

Moscow, September 3, Interfax - The Russian authorities have decided not to deport a citizen of Iraq, who earlier adopted Christianity and applied for temporary asylum in Russia.

"The Russian Federal Migration Service (FMS) department for the Saratov Region ruled on September 2, 2013 to grant temporary asylum to Iraqi citizen Mahdi Ali Saleh Mahdi for one year due to newly discovered circumstances," FMS Deputy Chairman Nikolay Smorodin said in a letter to head of the Russian presidential Human Rights Council Mikhail Fedotov.

The letter was published on the Human Rights Council website.

The Civil Assistance human rights committee reported in late August that the FMS department for the Saratov Region was preparing to deport a refugee to Iraq, where he was facing the death penalty for adopting Christianity.

Civil Assistance claimed that the FMS department for the Saratov Region ruled to deport the refugee to Iraq within five days. "This notification about deportation is an invitation to execution," it said in a statement.

Smorodin's letter says the FMS granted the Iraqi citizen temporary asylum after considering Fedotov's address.