Immigration agents hit and tased a Uzbek man in the middle of John F. Kennedy International Airport last year, according to a new lawsuit, because he refused to be deported due to the fact that a federal judge had blocked his removal.

Late Monday night, three days after the suit was filed and its explosive allegations came to light, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents began deporting Bakhodir Madjitov, a home health aide and father of three U.S. citizen children. His attorney, Ahmed Mohamed of the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said he was informed that Madjitov was put on a flight to Uzbekistan at about midnight on Tuesday.

In recent months, Madjitov had contracted COVID-19 in detention, according to his family.

“Bakhodir should be with his family and holding his youngest son in his arms in America,” Mohamed said. “Instead, he is being deported thousands of miles away from his wife and kids. No family should be tortured in this way. This is yet another shameful stain in America’s history.”

Supporters rally for Bakhodir Madjitov on a sidewalk; his wife stands by their toddler son, who has never seen his father.

At Monday rally for Madjitov, his wife Madina Mamadjonova (far right) stands by their toddler son who has never see his father.

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At Monday rally for Madjitov, his wife Madina Mamadjonova (far right) stands by their toddler son who has never see his father.
Free Bakhodir / Instagram

The 2019 airport beating attracted a crowd, according to the civil rights lawsuit filed by CAIR and the New Haven Legal Assistance Association. Madjitov had to be transported to an emergency room to be treated for his injuries before being returned to immigration detention.

Efforts to deport Madjitov ramped up in recent days, despite lingering medical difficulties from both COVID-19 and the assault. But on Monday night, the federal Second Circuit Court of Appeals denied an emergency motion to stay his removal.

Activists had staged a rally at Federal Plaza Monday afternoon to call attention to his case, where his youngest child, born while he was in ICE detention, held a poster that read: “I’ve never hugged my father.”

A spokesman for ICE said it does not comment on pending lawsuits. The agency did not immediately respond to an inquiry confirming Madjitov’s deportation.

Madjitov entered the US to perform traditional Uzbek music at the South by Southwest Music Festival in 2006 and overstayed his visa. He does not have a criminal record, and his wife, Madina Mamadjonova, is a U.S. citizen. The couple and their children lived in Connecticut.

Madjitov is Muslim, and has maintained that he faces torture in Uzbekistan because of a deceased relative’s alleged affiliation with a jihad group. A petition for asylum was denied, and he has been held by ICE since December 2017, mostly at the Etowah County Jail in Alabama.

When ICE attempted the first deportation on June 10, 2019, his lawyers say Madjitov pleaded with agents to look up court records showing that the U.S. District Court in the Third Circuit had stayed his removal. Instead, agents incorrectly told him that his legal motions had been denied. When he refused to walk onto the plane, he was thrown against a wall and tased, burning his skin, according to the suit.

Madjitov has “lasting head and spine trauma, as well as devastating mental and emotional anguish,” from the beating at JFK, according to the suit.

Matt Katz reports on air at WNYC about immigration, refugees, hate, and national security. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattkatz00.