NEW YORK, NY -- Falun Gong adherent Ms. Ma Hui and her 8-year-old daughter, Ma Jing, were seized on Tuesday by Russian Immigration officers at their St. Petersburg residence and forcibly put on a plane to China, sources from Russia tell the Falun Dafa Information Center. The Center is deeply concerned for the safety of mother and child, as the action is said to result from pressure by visiting Chinese communist diplomats. Witnesses say that a Chinese man, acting in tandem with a Russian police officer, was seen putting the couple on the plane. Once returned to China, imprisonment, forced labor, and torture, if not execution, are possible forms of punishment awaiting Ma Hui and child. Ma Hui and daughter have been recognized as legitimate refugees by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Office in Russia the past three years, and were awaiting a March 30 court date regarding its renewal. Their seizure and deportation amounts to a violation of the non-refoulement prohibitions of Convention Against Torture, which Russia has ratified and is obligated to follow, as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Ma Hui and her daughter were put on flight FV215, Polkova Airlines, departing from St. Petersburg at 7:50 PM Moscow time (11:50 AM EDT). The Center is calling for urgent, immediate intervention, as the mother and child’s plane will reportedly land briefly in the Russian city of Novosibirsk for refueling and they might still be returned. Mr. Bart Staes, a Member of the European Parliament and former Chairman of the Delegation to the EU-Russia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee, sent a letter today to Russian authorities imploring them to stop the deportation. Staes stated that he was “very concerned that Mrs. Ma Hui will be arrested in China as soon as she gets off the plane,”and fears for her fate, given that “practitioners of Falun Gong die every day in China, in the context of organ harvesting and widespread torture…” This incident is the culmination of several days of diplomatic kowtowing by Russian officials. In what appears an exaggerated attempt to satisfy a large retinue of visiting Chinese communist officials, Russian authorities have unlawfully detained and arrested numerous Falun Gong practitioners since Saturday. In each case persons were attempting to exercise constitutional rights of protest and demonstration in proximity to the Chinese Embassy in Moscow. On Saturday (news) seven Falun Gong were arrested, followed by another 22 on Sunday. On Monday and Tuesday, sources in Russia report, adherents were being arrested throughout Moscow for passing out human rights literature or even merely wearing clothing identifying them as Falun Gong (e.g., trademark yellow scarves).