Amnesty International has published a report this week, documenting the collusion of the security services of Russia, Ukraine and the Central Asian republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan in abductions, disappearances, and unlawful returns to Central Asia. The victims of these policies are members, or suspected members, of certain groups, who are returned despite the fact that they face a real risk of torture and other ill-treatment in these countries.
“It is virtually impossible for a wanted individual to disappear on release from a prison in one country and reappear shortly afterwards in prison in another, without the involvement – and close co-operation – of the secret services of both countries”, says the report.
Amnesty denounces the fact that those detained on charges related to national security or “religious extremism” are particularly at risk of being returned to countries where they may face torture. Civil society activists, members of Islamist parties or Islamic groups, and wealthy individuals who have fallen foul of the regimes risk being targeted, irrespective of their status as asylum seekers or refugees and regardless of staying orders from the European Court of Human Rights.
Amnesty criticises the silence of the international community surrounding these human rights abuses, which have been repeatedly exposed by the European Court of Human Rights and the findings of UN mechanisms.