Russia, Ukraine, and other countries have been collaborating on the illegal "rendition" of wanted individuals, a new Amnesty International report has found.
The multi-state program sees "people from former Soviet countries abducted by foreign security forces operating in Russia and forcibly returned to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan in spite of European Court of Human Rights rulings blocking their extraditions," the report said, adding that the scheme has been expanded in the past two years and used with "increasing frequency."
Many of the people sent back to their countries — many of whom have been flagged for their poor human rights records — face charges of endangering national security and religious extremism. Others are civil society activists, members of Islamist parties or wealthy or powerful individuals who have fallen out of favor with their country's current regime, BBC News reported.
Amnesty International has recorded several accounts of unfair trials, torture, detentions and jail time in home countries, according to the report.
"These renditions would not be possible without the complicity of public officials in the judicial and law-enforcement structures," said Amnesty International Europe and Central Asia Director John Dalhuisen in a statement.
"Nor would they be possible without CIS states willfully disregarding the absolute ban on torture and their obligation not to return people to countries where they may be at risk of torture, he added.
"The authorities protest innocence and ignorance about abduction cases, but this lacks all credibility," he continued. "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 cooperation — of the secret services of both countries."
Russia and Ukraine have not yet responded to the report.
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