State Duma deputy Ponomaryov to insist on granting refugee status to his aide Razvozzhayev

Ilya Ponomaryov, a member of the Russian State Duma of the party A Just Russia, has forwarded a letter to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to request that his aide Leonid Razvozzhayev be granted such status.

"I have sent a letter to the UN high commissioner for refugees, who is based in Switzerland. I am asking him to bring the process of granting political refugee status [to Razvozzhayev] to the end," Ponomaryov told journalists on Saturday.

The UNHCR should confirm officially that, since the moment Razvozzhayev submitted his documents to the UNCHR office in Kiev, he should "have the rights of a person whose file is under consideration."

"This would provide him with an appropriate level of legal protection in Ukraine. And the fact that this right was violated makes it possible to contest his unlawful arrest and illegitimacy of the entire procedure at a Russian court," he said.

In addition, Ponomaryov said he plans to go to New York in a week to discuss the matter with UN officials.

He said also that opposition leader Boris Nemtsov had met with the Council of Europe commissioner for human rights and talked on the matter with him.

Ponomaryov recently traveled to Switzerland and Germany, where he visited the Office of the UNHCR and met with members of the European Parliament and Bundestag.

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