To those who may be unaware, Russia has been brutal to the LGBTQ+ community in the previous year. There have been reports of gay concentration camps in Chechnya, where men were detained illegally and tortured, a famous gay pop singer being missing and presumed kidnapped and dead by family and friends and an increase in violent crimes against gay men due to a anti-gay propaganda law which favors the “traditional” family.
The case of Ali Feruz brings another injustice to light. Born in Siberia, he moved to Uzbekistan to live with his step-father. However, in 2008, he escaped after being detained, arrested and tortured for two days by the infamous security in Uzbekistan. Traveling to Krgyzstan, then Kazakhstan, he applied for refugee status to the United Nations and ended up in Moscow writing for the independent paper Novaya Gazeta. His articles range from LGBTQ+ and migrant hate crimes to observations on the military. However, Russian officials arrested him once more for illegally working in Russia, despite Ali claiming that he did not receive a regular salary and was not a permanent member on the newspaper. The same day of his arrest, it was ruled that he would be deported to Uzbekistan where being gay could result in torture, imprisonment and possible death. According to OUT magazine, after hearing this decision, Ali Feruz attempted suicide in the courthouse.
He is currently in a Russian detention center, uncertain if or when he will be deported. The European Court of Human Rights is fighting for the Moscow court to recognize the threat of Uzbekistan, but no final decision has yet been made.
Voices4, a nonviolent direct action activist group, has an Instagram page that dedicates itself to shedding light on LGBTQ+ issues and fighting for them. Originally meant for awareness on Chechnya, it now invites its followers to join for meetings and protests on learning about other injustices occurring in the world and how members can become involved in the process of justice. Amnesty International is also speaking out about Ali Feruz, asking members to help sign this petition and raise awareness.
These two platforms are not the only ones discussing Ali Feruz, but they are the ones that are reaching out to people and strongly encouraging them to listen and act. It isn’t that no one cares about Ali Feruz, it is that no one knows his case and is talking about him. So, let’s start talking.