Ben Keith submitted a claim for asylum on behalf of a Karakalpak dissident who sought protection in the UK in the aftermath of a large-scale crackdown on dissidents and journalists in Uzbekistan in July 2022 by Uzbek authorities.

The ethnic Karakalpak was part of a group of protestors from the autonomous region of Karakalpakstan which has been systematically oppressed by the Republic of Uzbekistan.The 2022 protests were triggered by the announcement of a constitutional change, withdrawing Karakalpakstan’s right to secede from Uzbekistan alongside dire living conditions in the region.

The man who claimed asylum in the UK was among those who were forcefully disappeared and tortured during detention by Uzbek authorities for advocating for independence of Karakalpakstan.

Since 2022, Karakalpaks have lived in fear of reprisals with mass detentions continuing in the country.

Ben Keith took on the case on a pro bono basis and was assisted by Jacqueline Jahnel, paralegal, and Leila Nazgul Seiitbek of Freedom for Eurasia.

Ben Keith is a leading barrister specialising in cross-border and international cases. He deals with all aspects of Immigration, Extradition, Human Rights, Mutual Legal Assistance, Interpol, Financial crime and International Law including sanctions. He has extensive experience of appellate proceedings before the Administrative and Divisional Courts, Criminal and Civil Court of Appeal as well as applications and appeals to the European Court of Human Rights and United Nations.