Czech Senator Helps Hide Chechen Denied Asylum
Czech senator Jaromir Stetina said Thursday he hopes the case of Timur Borchashvili, a Georgian citizen of Chechen nationality, who has been denied asylum in the Czech Republic and is hiding on its soil, will influence Czech asylum policy. Stetina writes in a statement he sent to CTK (Czech News Agency) Tuesday, while the Interior Ministry says there exists a way for the man to stay in the country legally.
He said the Czech Interior Ministry’s asylum policy does not help people from the Caucasus who are threatened with persecution by Russian authorities or even death.
Former Czech foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg supported Stetina’s stand.
Borchashvili was to leave the Czech Republic by Sunday, February 7, which he did not and went into hiding. Stetina said he himself is not covering him up. “He is no cutthroat, he is an entirely normal guy,” he said.
Stetina said Borchashvili has applied for asylum in the Czech Republic twice already. Last year, he appealed against the negative stand to the court in Brno, but the court has not yet dealt with the complaint since last July.
Borchashvili’s visa has now expired and he should leave the Schengen area.
“We can extend his stay if he again files an asylum application. This is possible and we naturally want to help the man. But we can do nothing if he does not accept the legal procedure and is hiding somewhere,” Interior Minister Martin Pecina told CTK Thursday.
Stetina said, however, he does not know whether Borchashvili is going to again apply for asylum.
Stetina says Borchashvili was an aide to President of Chechen Republic Ichkeria Aslan Maskhadov, and that he wants to save Borchashvili’s life.
Stetina claims that the Interior Ministry is trying to prevent a man who cooperated with the legal Chechen government of Aslan Maskhadov from personally defending himself against a decision by the ministry’s asylum and migration policy department and suspects the ministry of incorrect procedure.
“The gunmen of the puppet Chechen President (Ramzan) Kadirov” would pose an immediate danger to Borchashvili’s life, writes Stetina who has long devoted himself to the developments in the region.
He writes that only a court can say whether the denial of asylum for Borchashvili was in line with law. However, the foreigner police in cooperation with the ministry’s asylum and visa department have refused to extend Borchashvili’s visa until the court proceedings.
He said today the Czech BIS counter-intelligence service, a “partner” organisation of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), may be behind the procedure.
“We are an intelligence service of a democratic state and I would welcome it very much if Mr senator Stetina did not suspect us of having a bird’s brain and the claws of a dragon,” BIS spokesman Jan Subert said in reaction.
Anzor Maskhadov, son of the late Chechen president, on February 12, 2010 pointed to the danger that Borchashvili may face if he is forced to leave the EU.
“Chechens do not flee their homeland in search of sweet life. They are seeking a refuge, they have problems at home. We often hear that someone was detained, another one was killed,” Anzor Maskhadov said.