The Administrative Court ordered to grant refugee status and asylum to Salman Mukayev


The RA Administrative Court has issued an unprecedented decision. Thanks to the persistent efforts of SK-SOS and legal support of the Pink NGO on 29.01.2023, the Administrative Court of the Republic of Armenia satisfied the claim of Salman Mukayev, a citizen of the Russian Federation, who has Chechen nationality, against the Migration Service, which refused to grant the person asylum. According to the court’s judgement, the Migration Service is obliged to recognize Salman Mukaev as a refugee and grant him asylum, on the grounds that he will be persecuted because of his sexual orientation if he returns to Chechnya.

We remind that Salman Mukaev applied for asylum in Armenia as a refugee, arguing that he had been tortured and persecuted by law enforcement agencies in Chechnya, through the initiation of a fictitious criminal case. Back in 2022, the Migration Service announced in its decision that Salman Mukaev can settle in another territory of the Russian Federation and avoid persecution, and that the Russian law enforcement agencies can ensure a fair investigation of the criminal case against Mukaev. At the same time, the Migration Service considered credible the facts presented by Mukaev regarding what happened to him and the situation of LGBT people in Chechnya.

In its judgment, the Court first stated that it is indisputable that the plaintiff cannot return because of a well-founded fear of being persecuted by the local authorities of Chechnya for belonging to a certain social group. The court also emphasized that the data presented by Mukayev regarding his sexual orientation on the one hand, and the situation in the Russian Federation and Chechnya on the other hand, prove that even if the criminal prosecution against the plaintiff is not related to his sexual orientation, the plaintiff’s freedom and personal immunity will be threatened.

At the same time, the Court found that the analysis of the treatment in the territory of the Russian Federation towards persons who had previously fled from bad treatment in Chechnya shows that even the transfer of the place of residence cannot ensure the safety of the person, because he will be returned to the Chechen authorities.

The court also referred to the legislative changes and judicial practice of the last years in the Russian Federation, which banned the LGBT social movement in the territory of the country and in fact imply persecution of LGBT people and human rights defenders.

The court ultimately concluded that in case of returning Mukaev to the Russian Federation, regardless of whether he is handed over to the authorities of Chechnya or not, his freedom and personal safety are at risk.

The judgement will enter into legal force after a month, in the absence of an appeal by the Migration Service.

“Pink” human rights defender NGO appreciates the assessment and legal interpretation of the Administrative Court, which is significantly importance not only in terms of the individual case, but also in terms of the interpretation of the immigration legal regulations aimed at the protection of LGBT persons.