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Amnesty International calls on Poland not to deport Chechen

January 7, 2019
FILE - In this Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018 file photo, Tumso Abdurakhmanov, the 32-year-old Chechen video blogger, is photographed during an interview with The Associated Press somewhere in Poland. Amnesty International is calling on Poland not to deport Tumso Abdurakhmanov who is being sought by Russia. (AP Photo/Francesca Ebel, File)

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Amnesty International is calling on Poland not to deport a Chechen video blogger and critic of Chechen authorities who is being sought by Russia.

The human rights group says that if Tumso Abdurakhmanov is returned to Russia he will be “at a very real risk of torture and other inhuman or degrading treatment.”

That appeal was made in a letter sent last week to the Polish Interior Minister Joachim Brudzinski which was shared with The Associated Press on Monday.

Abdurakhmanov, 33, was informed on Dec. 20 by the Polish Border Guards that a process of administrative deportation had been started against him, Amnesty said.

It wasn’t clear when a deportation might happen as his lawyers seek to appeal the decision.

Poland has provided subsidiary protection to Abdurakhmanov’s wife and three young children, accepting that a threat to their lives exists in Chechnya. But it has rejected his asylum appeal on the grounds that he poses “a possible security threat” due to possible links to extremist organizations. Poland has kept its reasons classified, meaning even Abdurakhmanov doesn’t know what he’s suspected of.

Amnesty International said in its letter that it was urging Polish authorities to ensure “Abdurakhmanov’s safety, not to deport him and grant him protection, in accordance with Poland’s obligations under international human rights law.”

Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of the Chechen republic, and his security forces have been widely accused by international rights groups of extrajudicial arrests, torture and killings — and Kadyrov has warned that Chechens who fled abroad will pay dearly for their criticisms of his rule if they return home.

In August, another Chechen refugee, Azamat Bayduev, was deported from Poland. A day later, Bayduev was arrested and hasn’t been heard from since.

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This story corrects the spelling of the Chechen blogger’s last name to Abdurakhmanov, not Abdurakhamanov.

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