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Russian police raid home of detained migrant rights defender Valentina Chupik

On Monday, September 27, police officers in the Moscow region raided the home of migrant rights defender Valentina Chupik, the head of the nonprofit organization Tong Jahoni. Chupik, who is a citizen of Uzbekistan, has been in custody at an immigration detention center at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport since September 25. 

Chupik’s assistant Alexander Kim told Novaya Gazeta that the rights defender’s 84-year-old mother Lyubov Kodentsova (who is also an Uzbek national) was the only person in the apartment at the time of the raid.

“Police with a search warrant came to Valentina’s home, where there’s only her seriously-ill, bedridden mother. They’re demanding her documents. They went into the apartment — the door was open in case a nurse came or an ambulance had to be called.”

According to lawyer Daria Trenina, Chupik told her over the phone that a “search involving the FSB” was happening at her apartment.

Another lawyer, who asked to remain anonymous, told OVD-Info that the police officers wanted to press misdemeanor charges against Chupik’s elderly mother for not living at her place of registration; the police decided not to write up the protocol for reasons unknown. As noted by Novaya Gazeta, Lyubov Kodentsova suffers from osteoporosis and cannot move around on her own.

Valentina Chupik was detained at Moscow Sheremetyevo airport upon returning from a trip to Armenia on Saturday, September 25. FSB officers notified her that she had been deprived of her refugee status in Russia and was banned from entering the country for the next 30 years (until September 2051). Chupik fled Uzbekistan in 2006 and was granted refugee status in Russia three years later. Through her nonprofit organization Tong Jahon, she provided free legal assistance to migrants in Moscow.

Chupik does not know where the Russian authorities will send her. Her colleagues fear that she may be sent back to her native Uzbekistan, where she will “face torture.” Chupik herself told Current Time TV on Monday that if she were to be deported to Uzbekistan she might be jailed and even killed in custody.

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