Asylum seeker on hunger strike for 10 days in protest against two-year detention

Sofia, 19 November 2008 - 29-year-old Chechen Said Kadzoev has bene on hunger strike since November 9. The man has been placed at the Centre for Detention of Aliens in Busmantsi. According to him, in Bulgaria he is "more persecuted than in the country he is fleeing - Russia".

Mr Kadzoev had to be hospitalized on November 12 because he lost consciousness. He has stated that he will continue his protest until he is freed and can live a normal life.

Said Kadzoev was detained by the Bulgarian authorities on 20 October 2006 because of a deportation order for illegal entry into the country. Mr Kadzoev, who was subjected to torture in Russia, entered Bulgaria without documents to seek asylum.

The Bulgarian authorities, however, did not register his asylum application for 7 months and instead issued a deportation order. He was sent to the Busmantsi Centre where he has been kept, with few exceptions, in an empty single-occupancy cell equipped with a camera. His mental and physical state have deteriorated gravely.

The State Refugee Agency turned down his request for asylum. At the same time, the Bulgarian government acknowledged that Mr Kardozov's life would be endangered if he were to return to Russia. The only possible solution in this case would be to give him asylum in a third-safe country. This however is a lengthy process, which could take years.

For more information:
Elena Dyankova
Spravedlivost 21 century Association
tel. 359 2 983 2930, 359 899 902 837