Human rights: Rock band Bi-2 imprisoned in Thailand – deportation?

Human rights: Rock band Bi-2 imprisoned in Thailand – deportation?

A Russian band has been held in Thailand for a week. The members are threatened with deportation – human rights activists warn of torture and persecution.

The Thai authorities are apparently planning to deport a dissident Russian rock band – but where is currently unclear. The seven musicians from Bi-2, several of whom also have Israeli passports and two of whom are no longer Russian citizens, said they were arrested last week after a concert on the holiday island of Phuket and taken into immigration detention.

While the media initially reported that the musicians were to be deported to Russia, one of the band’s founders – Yegor “Ljowa” Bortnik – was flown to Israel on Tuesday evening, as the artists reported. Bortnik also has an Australian passport. “The rest of the group is still in a migration prison in a cramped cell with 80 people,” Bi-2 wrote on Facebook.

The band is accused of not having the valid documents for the performance in Phuket. “The reason for the arrest was incorrectly worded documents from the organizers,” Bi-2 said on several social networks. Human rights activists warned that the exiled group would face persecution if deported to Moscow because of their public criticism of the Russian government.

Human rights activists warn of arrest and torture

“Thai authorities should immediately release the detained members of Bi-2 and allow them to continue their journey,” said Elaine Pearson, Asia director at Human Rights Watch (HRW). “Under no circumstances should they be deported to Russia, where they could face arrest or worse for their criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s war in Ukraine.”

The Russian government views the group as a threat to national security. “After their detention in Thailand, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the group had allegedly “sponsored terrorism” by condemning Russia and publicly supporting Ukraine,” HRW said.

The Thai government should not deport any of the band members to Russia, the organization demanded. If they were forcibly returned, they would “most likely face arbitrary arrest and detention, possible ill-treatment in custody, politically motivated criminal charges and unfair trials.”

Source: Stern

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