Ravil Mingazov is a Russian Muslim who was held without charge or trial in Guantanamo Bay prison for 15 years. Mingazov was released in January 2017 with all charges dropped, and he was transferred for resettlement to the UAE. Despite concerns voiced at the time by the United Nations that he would be mistreated there, Mingazov still expected to rebuild his life.
He was imprisoned immediately upon arrival in the UAE, and has been in prison ever since. He is now at imminent risk of being forcibly repatriated to Russia, where he is likely to face religious persecution and further torture.
This has been the experience of many repatriated Guantanamo prisoners even though they have been cleared for release and all terrorism charges against them dropped.
Ravil Mingazov is ethnically Tartar. He trained to be a ballet dancer and was part of a number of dance troupes. In 1987, at the age of 19 he was conscripted into the Russian army, where he served as a private, performing for the Russian Army Ballet Troupe.
Following this, he served as a warrant officer in a passport control office for approximately 8 years. He served voluntarily as a regimental supply officer in the army until 2000. He was kidnapped in Pakistan before being sent to Bagram, then Guantanamo.
You can read more about Ravil here and watch a CAGE interview with his son.
Moazzam Begg, who was held with Mingazov in Bagram, said:
“Ravil is a deeply principled and courageous individual. I spent several weeks next to him in a cell where we spoke in hushed tones – in broken English, Arabic and Russian – because speaking aloud was an infraction of the rules. Despite this, I remember Ravil standing up and shouting at the soldiers who were throwing copies of the Quran around. He knew they would punish him by shackling his hands to the ceiling above his head whilst covering it with a hood but that did not deter him.
I’ve heard about him from many prisoners since my release and everyone speaks of him with such deep love and respect.
Having recently met his son Yusuf – who Ravil last saw in 1999 – I see so many traits of his father: dignity, courtesy, courage and hope.”
- On 17 August 2023, six MPs - including the co-chairs of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Closing the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility, former Green Party leader Caroline Lucas, as well as Labour MPs John McDonnell and Apsana Begum - wrote to home secretary Suella Braverman appealing for Ravil to be able to reunited with his family in the UK.
- Over 300 people wrote directly to Tina Kaidanow, the US Senior Representative of Guantanamo Affairs, asking her to intervene in Ravil’s case, to secure his safety and unite him with his son and family in the UK.
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