Two more stateless persons released from detention in Russia

01.07.2020
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At the end of June 2020, Anti-Discrimination Centre “Memorial” in cooperation with lawyer Olga Tseytlina managed to secure the release of two more stateless persons (natives of Kyrgyzstan) from temporary detention centre for foreign nationals. Both of these stateless persons had been detained for a long time for the purpose of their further expulsion from the Russian Federation, which could not be executed, since no state considered them to be their citizens.

One of the applicants, O., a native of Kyrgyzstan, is a stateless person who had lived in Russia for more than 15 years. He was kept in a temporary detention centre for foreign nationals since September 2019, and this was not the first time he had been detained there. The order to expel O. from Russia, with a fine of 5,000 rubles and placement in the temporary detention centre for a violation of immigration rules, had been issued by the Krasnogvardeisky district court of St. Petersburg despite the objective impossibility of him leaving the Russian Federation. In December 2019 this court order was appealed to the St. Petersburg city court, but to no avail – the city court has upheld the previous court ruling. On April 30, 2020 the Third cassation court of general jurisdiction in St.Petersburg approved this earlier expulsion order. Finally, on May 19, 2020, lawyer Olga Tseytlina, using the legal mechanism for the liberation of stateless persons from temporary detention centre for foreign nationals, which had been established by the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation in its ruling on the case of Noe Mskhiladze, has again appealed to the Krasnogvardeisky district court with a request to verify the legality and validity of the applicant’s further detention in a temporary detention centre and to terminate the execution of his expulsion order. The lawyer’s legal appeal stated that the legitimate and achievable purpose of keeping O. in the temporary detention centre for foreign nationals was absent, since the state authorities did not have information about O.’s actual citizenship of any state and therefore his expulsion was not feasible. The court has accepted this argument, agreed that O.’s further deprivation of liberty in the temporary detention centre for foreign nationals had been unlawful and on June 19, 2020 has canceled its own earlier ruling. Thus, after 10 months of detention, O. was finally released.

On June 23, 2020, the decision on the expulsion of B., also a native of Kyrgyzstan, was appealed with the Frunzensky district court of St.Petersburg. Earlier in 2018, B. had renounced his Kyrgyzstan citizenship and became a stateless person. While being working in Russia, B. was convicted on June 19, 2019 for violating the rules of stay in the country. For about a year B. was held in detention centre for foreign nationals, as the court had incorrectly identified him as a citizen of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan. His forced expulsion from the Russian Federation could not be carried out not only because of him being stateless, but also due to the lack of air transport connection between Russia and most of other countries during the Covid-19 pandemic. Given all these circumstances, lawyer Olga Tseytlina has filed an application with the Frunzensky district court of St. Petersburg in order to verify the legality and validity of the applicant’s further detention in the temporary detention centre for foreign nationals. The court ruled to release B. from the detention centre. However, the rest of the earlier court ruling was left unchanged: B.’s forced expulsion was not canceled, but only replaced with an “independent controlled exit” from Russia.