06:55, Tuesday, 22.05.2018
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Student, Deported from Russia, Wants to Continue Her Studies in Georgia

deport.gifAbkhazian refugee Irine Kalandia, deported from Moscow, urges Minister of Education to let her continue with her studies in Georgia. Though Irine legally lived in Moscow, she became a victim of tense situation between Georgia and Russia. Three days and sleepless nights in a cell, three hours with so-called 'Bomzhs'-that is a short deportation history of the third-year student.

She applied to 'Human Rights Information and Documentation Centre' for help and recalled all details about those difficulties she had met during the deportation. Main problem for her in Georgia is to continue with her studies.

Irine Kalandia: 'I lived in Moscow since 1997 with my sister and brother, they are Russian citizens. My parents live in Zugdidi. In 2003 I entered Stomatological Faculty of the Moscow International Academy. Now I am on my third year. Georgian people, living in Moscow, have been deported since the situation between the two countries became tense. Since then I frequently went to the Institute and almost never went out in the evening."

"When representatives of Immigration Service Department arrived to raid our district, I was at my relative's shop. My sister in law was there too; she is Russian. Entering the shop they demanded our documents; took my passport and ordered to come to Immigration Service Department on the next day."

Journalist:Did not they explain you the reason of taking your passport?

I.K: "They said I was not Russian citizen and I had no right to work there. Although my sister in law told them I was her guest and did not work in Moscow, they stated I had no right of being in Russia either. I took my passport out of the bag which was in a shop-drawer. Seeing it they asked me why I kept my passport in the shop if I did not work there."

"On the next day arriving at the Immigration Service Department I was told my case was not discussed yet and I was to wait for the trial."

Journalist:Were there any other Georgians in the Immigration Service Department?

I.K:  "A lot of Georgians were there in the similar situation. They seized my passport on September 29 and I went to the Department every day to find out the situation. Every day they used to tell me the court had not discussed my case yet.  Such situation lasted till October 6 and finally they tried me.
Journalist: Did you attend the trial or whether you had a lawyer?

I.K: I attended the trial though I had no lawyer. Only my sister accompanied me at the hearing. The judge asked me about my citizenship and I answered I was Georgian citizen. Thus he said it did not matter where I was from; the problem was my Georgian citizenship. After questioning they took me out in the corridor and told me to wait for the verdict there. Five minutes later a policeman came up to me and ordered to sign some paper. I demanded to read the paper before signing it but he did not let me. After that I was put into irons and they drove me to Immigration Service Department by police car.

Journalist:Didn't they let you read your verdict?

I.K: No they did not. At Immigration Service Department they placed me in a special room for 'Bomzhs'. An Abkhazian boy was there with me. I spent three hours in the room. They took my finger prints, my photos and set some strange seal in my passport. They even did my blood test. Having finished all procedures they took me to a police station and placed me in a cell."

"There were eight Georgians there. When they saw my passport at the Police station everybody got surprised at seeing the strange seal in it, they could not understand what it meant. I spent three days in that cell. One of the inspectors told me appeal the court verdict but it had no sense."

Journalist:What kind of conditions did you have in the cell? Did they give you any food?

I.K: "Yes they gave us some food but nobody ate it. We could not sleep during two nights as there was no place to lie on. On the third day they expected a commission and cleaned everything. They even sent a nurse to us. On the fourth day policemen took us to the airport. We were not allowed to take anything on plane. They did not let me to withdraw my documents from the Institute either."

Journalist:Did your sister or brother have any problems there, though they are Russian citizens?

I.K: "My brother is a Russian citizen but he was also detained by police. Having arrested him they called Immigration Service Department and offered a new Georgian. They wanted to deport my brother too, but he paid 100USD (as far as I know) and released him. When my brother said he was a Russian citizen, they answered him they did not care whether he was Russian citizen or not. Since they were going to deport all Georgians and their flats would be occupied by those Russians who arrived from Georgia.

P.S. Irina Kalandia has applied to Mr. Aleksandre Lomaia, Georgian Minister of Education to let her continue with her studies in Georgia. Although Ministry of Education stated that every deported student would be assisted, her problem has not solved yet.

As for other deported people, present statistics show the following: 807 people are deported, court has made 3 000 decisions on deportation, nearly 150 Georgians are placed in the police detention settings, nearly 4 000 offices with Georgian employees are raided and fifty of them are closed.

Eka Gulua

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