Russia16 December 2004
Japanese journalist expelled and banned from Russia for five years
Japanese freelance journalist Kosuke Tsuneoka, a Caucasus specialist, was finally expelled from Russia following a 2 December ruling by a court in Nazran, Ingushetia. He was fined 1,000 roubles and banned from Russian territory for five years. He had conducted a number of interviews in Ingushetia without having accreditation.
Japanese journalist faces five-year ban from Russia
3 december 2004
Reporters Without Borders wrote to Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov today voicing concern at the possibility that Japanese freelance journalist Kosuke Tsuneoka could be banned from Russia for five years after reportedly conducting interviews in Ingushetia without being registered or accredited and while travelling on a business visa.
The organisation asked Lavrov to clarify why Tsuneoka, a specialist in the Caucasus, was arrested at the station in the Ingush capital of Nazran by station security agents on 19 November and charged with "violating administrative orders."
Ingush security sources told a correspondent with the Russian news agency ITAR-TASS that he would very probably be sentenced to a fine and a five-year ban from Russian territory.
"The extension of ’anti-terrorist action zones’ to more and more places in Russia, especially after the Beslan tragedy, has made it virtually impossible for foreign journalists who want to go to Ingushetia to obtain accreditation," Reporters Without Borders said.
"It would be disproportionate to ban a journalist from Russia for five years because he met refugees and survivors of the Beslan hostage tragedy," the organisation added.
The charges against Tsuneoka were considered by a regional court in Nazran in a preliminary hearing on 30 November. Tsuneoka arrived in Russia on 24 October and at first looked into a committee of mothers of soldiers. Then he went to Vladikavkaz to meet the victims of the Beslan tragedy.
Tsuneoka has often visited the Caucasus, visiting both the Russian part of the region and Georgia. He disappeared in the Pankisi Gorge (in the border area between Russia and Georgia) in August 2001 and, according to official accounts, he was released thanks to the intervention of the Georgian intelligence services.