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Russia20 February 2008

Moscow court asked to rule that Moldovan journalist’s deportation was illegal

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A lawyer acting for Natalia Morar, a Moldovan journalist employed at the Moscow headquarters of The New Times weekly, has asked a Moscow court to rule that her deportation on 16 December at the behest of the FSB security service was illegal. Morar also wants the FSB to be forced to take all necessary steps to remove the obstacles to her return to Russia.

The lawyer, Yuri Kostanov, filed the petition on 14 February. A hearing is to be held on 17 March. He told the privately-owned Interfax news agency that the FSB broke the law in several ways.

“When you prepare to expel someone, an entire series of decisions, in particular, decisions concerning a permanent employment, have to be taken and the person has to be informed, but Natalia Morar was given no notification of this kind,” he said.

Furthermore, no grounds were given for the deportation, Kostanov said. The authorities just cited article 27 of a 1996 law concerning movements in and out of Russia, which says foreigners can be denied entry if they pose a threat to security or public health.

Morar was denied entry at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport on 16 December, when she returned with a group of journalists from a press trip to Israel. After being told by FSB officials that she was “undesirable” and was not authorised to reenter Russia, she was put a flight to Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, where she is from.

Read previous article about Natalia Morar

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