Russia's Supreme Court has canceled a deportation order for Ali Feruz, an Uzbek citizen who works for the independent Moscow-based newspaper Novaya Gazeta.
The Supreme Court partially accepted Feruz's appeal and ruled on January 24 that the journalist's case must be sent for revision.
Moscow’s Basmanny District Court in November ruled that Feruz worked illegally in Russia. The court ruled that he must be deported to Uzbekistan and pay a 5,000 ruble ($85) fine, but suspended its decision following an August ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
Feruz has pleaded not guilty, arguing that he was not Novaya Gazeta's permanent employee and did not receive a regular salary from the newspaper for his work.
The ECHR's order to suspend the journalist's deportation was issued after rights groups said they fear Feruz could face torture, imprisonment, or even death at the hands of Uzbek authorities.
In October, the same Moscow court upheld a 2015 decision by immigration authorities to refuse asylum for Feruz, saying that he had failed to prove he faces danger in Uzbekistan.
Feruz has been held in a center for foreigners whose status is in question until the ECHR issues a final decision about his case.
Feruz, whose real name is Hudoberdi Nurmatov, was born in Siberia in 1986.
He left Russia at the age of 17 to live with his stepfather in Uzbekistan and obtained Uzbek citizenship.
But he fled Uzbekistan in 2008, alleging he was detained and tortured for two days by members of Uzbekistan’s security service.
Prominent rights activists and intellectuals in Russia have called on the Kremlin not to deport Feruz.
With reporting by Novaya Gazeta and Dozhd