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Free Alexey

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First, let me tell you what this is campaign is all about.

Alexey Kharis, my husband, is incarcerated in jail for overstaying his visa, under this administration’s “Zero Tolerance” policy towards immigrants and asylum seekers. My children, Daniel and Emilia, 8 and 6 years old, and I, Anna, Alexey’s wife, have been separated from him for over 12 months now, while he’s being detained without bail in sight. The bills for the legal efforts to try and free Alexey are rapidly mounting up. I am out of a job until I find a new one (as the company I was employed with, Lumo Bodytech, had ceased its operations) and am desperately trying my utmost to be the best parent I can be to Daniel and Emilia under the circumstances. I am alone in this, and I really need your help. Please take a moment of your life and read our story. Perhaps you can help?

Up until 2015, Alexey Kharis, my husband, was a successful entrepreneur in Russia. Then, almost overnight, Alexey found himself at the center of a political firestorm he didn’t start. Alexey’s business partners made a politically fatal mistake of denouncing a high-level member of President Putin’s inner circle for corruption. As you may imagine, their allegations were not taken lightly by the impacted official. Threats were immediately made against Alexey to try and force him to frame his partners for crimes they did not commit, crimes that were never committed. Alexey refused to give in to the threats.

Following one particularly ominous “interview” by the FSB (formerly known as the KGB) - Alexey and I took an immediate, life-changing decision to flee for our lives. We left for the United States of America. We arrived in the US with visas, but without much by way of anything else. In 2016, we officially petitioned for political asylum. We lived openly, studying, working and raising Emilia and Daniel. Alexey was doing most of the raising, as I was the one with the student visa which allowed me to work and bring home a modest income.

Then, in August 2017, Alexey went to pick up the asylum decision at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) offices in San Francisco. And right then and there, without any preemptive warning or notification, which would have allowed him to say goodbye to Emilia, Daniel and I, he was arrested, shipped to a detention facility in Richmond and refused bail. All this happened without any criminal proceedings of any kind, all based solely on the fact that he had overstayed his visa. The bail was refused on the basis of the very same FSB frame-up which had us seek asylum in the first place. Guilty until proven innocent...

So, Emilia and Daniel’s dad, my husband, Alexey, has now been incarcerated for over a year without seeing his children. Even though no charges have been brought against him in the United States, he remains detained without bail, while his case works its very slow way through the immigration court system, under this administration’s “Zero Tolerance” policy to immigrants and asylum seekers.

We are desperate. We are extremely desperate. Naturally, we are going to appeal the decision not to allow Alexey asylum and to deny him bail. Alexey’s lawyers say that his case is strong, and he has good chances, but the process may take another two or more years. Two or more years of Emilia and Daniel growing up without a father. Two or more years for Alexey behind bars and us being separated. But that’s not even the worst part. It would appear that the DHS is imminently going to transfer Alexey out of state, so even I can no longer visit him, truly a cruel and unusual punishment, and all without criminal proceedings. And, the real-life threat rests with what may happen if Alexey actually gets deported. If this happens, Alexey’s life is at risk. In Russia, he stands to get a minimum of 20 years in prison, or, worse, all to prevent any unwanted truths from leaking out.

We are ready to fight for Alexey because we know his pure heart and his just cause and because my kids deserve to be together with their father, and we miss him so very very much.

Please help us by donating to Alexey’s legal battle and sharing this story with your friends and family. Thank you.

I am grateful for the support of so many friends and family, and to the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity and members of the Peninsula Interfaith Coalition on Immigration.

BTW, if you can help me with my job search, that too would be highly appreciated. Here is my Linkedin profile:


Anna Tutskaia
Palo Alto, CA

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