A gay Uzbek journalist working for one of Russia’s last independent newspapers has left for Germany after a Moscow court allowed him to travel to any country outside his native Uzbekistan.
The court's decision last weekend overruled previous orders forcing Novaya Gazeta journalist Ali Feruz’s deportation to Uzbekistan, where his supporters say he risks persecution and torture. The journalist was detained outside the newspaper’s offices in August last year for violating migration laws.
The Mediazona news website cited Novaya Gazeta managing editor Olga Bobrova on Thursday as saying that Feruz’s plane took off from Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport.
The independent Journalists and Media Workers Union later published footage of Feruz parting ways with supporters, saying that the journalist is expected to arrive in Germany's Frankfurt within hours.
Novaya Gazeta's former chief editor Dmitry Muratov told the Interfax news agency earlier on Thursday that Feruz had boarded the plane together with a friend, a Red Cross representative and an attorney.
“I don’t consider this a victory because the best outcome would be for competent people who speak many languages to continue working with us,” he said. “We lost him."