MOSCOW — The European Court of Human Rights has halted the impending deportation of a Russian reporter to his native Uzbekistan.

A Russian court earlier this week ordered Novaya Gazeta reporter Khudoberdy Nurmatov deported to Uzbekistan, where rights activists fear he might be torture.

Nurmatov, who writes under the pen name Ali Feruz, fled Uzbekistan in 2008 after he was tortured and coerced into collaborating with intelligence agencies.

He has been denied asylum in Russia several times.

Novaya Gazeta reported on Friday that the human rights court has halted his expulsion from Russia.

The court’s press office confirmed the action to The Associated Press.

Novaya Gazeta’s editor-in-chief has petitioned Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying Nurmatov lost his Uzbek passport and did not apply for a new one out, fearing reprisals from Uzbek authorities.