Switzerland rejects Chechen man’s asylum request, saying Chechnya ‘safe and stable’

Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Migration has rejected an asylum request submitted by a Russian citizen who fears his outspoken support for Ukraine means deportation to Russia would endanger his life.

The decision not to grant Ali Batayev asylum in Switzerland was justified by the fact that Chechnya was a “safe and stable” territory, independent media outlet Kavkaz.Real reported on Sunday.

The head of the human rights organisation European Peace House, Zainap Gashaeva, who has been closely involved with Batayev’s case, called the government agency’s position “absurd”, and said that the issue hadn’t been properly addressed and arguments in his favour had been ignored.

Batayev’s deportation from Switzerland has been put on hold until December, so the decision will not be implemented until then and can still be appealed.

Novaya-Europe has shared Batayev’s story before: originally from Chechnya, he lived in Ukraine for years and was granted a resident’s permit. Batayev has publicly criticised the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov, which led to his relatives back in Chechnya being interrogated. When the Russian invasion of Ukraine started, Batayev had to migrate to Europe from Ukraine, leaving his wife in Odesa.

Batayev has been held in a Swiss deportation centre since September 2022, waiting for the decision on his deportation to Russia, and has even gone on hunger strike, demanding not to be repatriated. Batayev is certain that if he is made to go back, he will be killed due to his public stance against Kadyrov’s regime in Chechnya.

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