It is five days now since Nina and Mikel Malyshev were “disappeared” – I have no doubt by the Uzbek security services – during their deportation to Uzbekistan by the UK Border Agency.
I had hoped that they would be detained for a couple of days and then released after signing a confession that they had been misled by evil people like me and that President Karimov was the great father of his nation. But unfortunately this is now looking far more sinister, particularly as we know that they were taken past passport control at the airport without their arrival being registered. I fear they may have simply disappeared forever and the Uzbek government will deny all knowledge they ever arrived.
The British government denies all responsibility. This from the UK border agency, who sent them back to Karimov:
“These individuals were removed on Friday after they refused to leave voluntarily. “The UK Border Agency carefully considered their cases and several different judges agreed in the courts that they did not need the UK’s protection.”
The British Embassy in Tashkent have told the family they have no responsibility for the Malyshevs.
The UK Border Agency deported the Malyshevs on 21 October. At 6am on 22 October they phoned their relatives in Port Talbot to say that they were alright, they had been met at the plane by a representative of the British Embassy and escorted through the airport, bypassing passport control, security checks and customs. They expected to be put on a bus to their former home in Zarafshan. They never arrived in Zarafshan and have disappeared. The British Embassy say they did not send anybody to the airport to meet them.
The fake British official was without doubt from the Uzbek security services. Nobody else could get airside at Tashkent – including, incidentally, the British Embassy who do not have airside access.
I gave written evidence to the Malyshevs’ asylum appeal. I specifically stated that if deported the Malyshevs would be picked up at the airport by the security services. The Home Office stated this was not true, and my knowledge was out of date.
It is not acceptable for the British government knowingly to deport people to probable torture in Uzbekistan, and then refuse to find out what happens to them. The government refuses to check up on the Malyshevs’ fate partly because it does not care what happens to them, and partly because it wants to continue to claim there is no problem and continue to deport others to Karimov.
Please raise this with any group you know, and get as many people as possible to write to their MPs. Amnesty members try to get them involved. Please repost this as widely as possible on the web. The Malyshevs may still be alive in a cell or gulag. We need to find them.
Mikel Malyshev has just phoned his sister – so the good news is that he is alive. But he did not appear able to talk freely and when asked if he was OK replied “Yes and No”. He was not alone – other voices could be heard – and seemed very nervous. He was not with Nina and could or would not say where she was.