CM/AS(2007)Quest523 prov 7 June 20071
999bis Meeting, 20 June 2007
3 Parliamentary Assembly
3.1b Written Question No. 523 by Mr Lindblad: “Falun Gong practitioner expelled from Russia”
Draft reply of the Committee of Ministers
Ms Hui Ma, a Chinese Falun Gong practitioner and resident in St. Petersburg, was expelled from her home by Russian immigration officers together with her 7-year-old daughter. The mother and daughter were then sent back to China.
The UN Refugee Office in Russia has recognized Ms Ma as a refugee. Her status is, however, rejected by the Russian immigration authorities. The case has been in the process of appeal. Initially the appeal case would be heard at a court on 30 March 2007. Though, the Russian Immigration Office decided to expel Ms Hui Ma and her daughter to Beijing.
The behaviour by Russian authorities seems to follow a certain pattern. It is contradictory to a UN decision and everything that the Council of Europe stands for. Therefore I repeat the question I have put before in order to know what steps and measures the Committee of Ministers will take to make the Russian Federation conform to its obligations as member of the Council of Europe.
The question raised by the Honourable Parliamentarian was discussed by the Ministers’ Deputies at their 994th meeting (2 May 2007). According to information subsequently communicated by the Delegation of the Russian Federation, it appears that Ms Ma availed herself on several occasions of the possibility of challenging before the Russian courts the decision of the Home Affairs Department in St. Petersburg of 30 April 2004 refusing her initial application for refugee status, then the decision in which the same department on 29 June 2006 turned down a subsequent application for temporary asylum on the ground that the application was devoid of legal foundation under Article 12, paragraph 2 of the Russian Federal Law on Refugees.
It was on the basis of a judicial ruling made on 12 February 2007 that Ms Ma was deported to China in the absence of a legitimate reason for staying in the territory of the Russian Federation. Since then, Ms Ma has lodged an application with the St. Petersburg district court to appeal against that court’s decision of 30 January 2007 dismissing a petition which she made earlier, on the ground that it did not meet the requirements laid down in Articles 339 and 341 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Russian Federation. The application in question is still pending.
Note 1 This document has been classified restricted at the date of issue. Unless the Committee of Ministers decides otherwise, it will be declassified according to the rules set out in Resolution Res(2001)6 on access to Council of Europe documents.