A Russian court on Tuesday has stopped the deportation of a gay journalist who claims he would be tortured in his native Uzbekistan.

Police last week detained Khudoberdi Nurmatov, a reporter for the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta who writes under the pen name Ali Feruz, in Moscow.

Novaya Gazeta reported Nurmatov, who was born in Russia but grew up in Uzbekistan, fled the former Soviet republic in 2008 after authorities kidnapped him from his home and “tortured” him because of his “political views.” Nurmatov has been trying to receive asylum in Russia for more than two years.

The European Court of Human Rights on Aug. 4 blocked Nurmatov’s deportation, pending the outcome of his appeal. Radio Free Europe reported the Moscow City Court ruled Russian authorities cannot deport Nurmatov until the European Court of Human Rights issues its ruling.

Russia, which is a member of the Council of Europe, is a signatory to the European Convention of Human Rights that created the European Court of Human Rights. A law that President Vladimir Putin signed in 2015 allows Russia’s Constitutional Court to decide whether the country should comply with rulings from the European Court of Human Rights and other international judicial bodies.

Novaya Gazeta in April began reporting on the anti-gay crackdown in Chechnya, which is a semi-autonomous Russian republic in the North Caucuses. The European Court of Human Rights in June ruled a Russian law that bans so-called gay propaganda to minors is discriminatory and violates freedom of speech.

Nurmatov will remain in a detention facility until the court rules in his case.


— Michael K. Lavers, Washington Blade courtesy of the LGBTQ Media Association.