News

2015.09.08 13:45

Lithuania considers grant of political asylum for Russian journalist

Algirdas Acus2015.09.08 13:45

Russian opposition journalist Andrei Nekrasov has already arrived in Vilnius. He was detained in Cyprus under Russian arrest warrant and formally asked Lithuania to grant him political asylum.

Russian opposition journalist Andrei Nekrasov has already arrived in Vilnius. He was detained in Cyprus under Russian arrest warrant and formally asked Lithuania to grant him political asylum.

Cyprus rejected the Russian request to extradite Nekrasov to Moscow and decided to send him back to Lithuania, which had issued him a national visa.

The decision was taken in the light of the EU law, which stipulates that asylum applications should be processed by the EU nation that the person entered first.

Nekrasov claims that Russia is persecuting him with criminal charges that are politically motivated.

He says that the head of one factory accused Nekrasov of blackmail when he published his article about employee protests, and the Federal Security Service detained the journalist and tried to make him confess.

Lithuanian police confirmed that Nekrasov is officially wanted via Interpol system, but if the person applies for asylum, search procedures are usually suspended for the period of processing the asylum issue.

Reporters without Borders believe that Nekrasov is persecuted for exposing corruption in the Russian Republic of Udmurtia.

The journalist faces up to 15 years in prison in Russia.

Applications for political asylum are usually considered several months. Nekrasov plans to live in a rented apartment in Vilnius, as he waits for the decision.

SHOTLIST

Soundbite (Russian)

ANDREJ NEKRASOV, Russian journalist seeking political asylum in Lithuania:

A complaint was filled by a former chief of Kalashnikov concern, who currently leads an agency of border infrastructure development, Konstantin Busigin. This is a personal score settling for my professional work in 2013. The case is political. Together with other workers we sought for higher minimal wage.

Soundbite (Lithuanian)

SAULIUS SKVERNELIS, Lithuanian Minister of Interior:

He came to Lithuania legally, he asked for political asylum. As he has a valid visa he can live in an agreed place and not in the Foreign Citizens Registration Centre.

Soundbite (Russian)

ANDREJ NEKRASOV, Russian journalist seeking political asylum in Lithuania:

If I do not get a political asylum then Lithuania will have to hand me over to Russia, where I will be probably charged. I am sure that there will be no fair trial for me.

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