2021.09.01 17:15

Lithuanian court upholds Russian pop star's entry ban

BNS2021.09.01 17:15

Russian pop singer Philipp Kirkorov will not be able to enter Lithuania after the Supreme Administrative Court rejected his appeal against a travel ban.

“The decision of the court of first instance was upheld,” Neringa Lukoševičienė, the supreme court's spokeswoman, told BNS.

The ruling is final and cannot be appealed.

On June 14, Vilnius Regional Administrative Court dismissed Kirkorov's appeal and upheld the Migration Department's decision.

The Russian performer appealed against the ruling, asking the court to overturn the ban.

The Vilnius court concluded that the Migration Department had grounds to consider Kirkorov's actions as a threat to national security.

“In its letter to the Migration Department, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted that Philipp Kirkorov was a popular Russian performer and producer who made an impact on ample layers of society in Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union due to his active performance and organizational activities and that Russia’s officials openly described his performance activity in foreign countries as a tool for spreading the ‘soft power’ of the Russian Federation,” the court said in a press release.

“Mr. Kirkorov has been regularly visiting and performing in the Crimean Peninsula, annexed illegally by the Russian Federation, thus deliberately denying the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and indirectly justifying the aggressive actions of the Russian Federation,” it said.

“He has been blacklisted in Ukraine and denied entry to this country due to these actions. In the ministry's view, Mr. Kirkorov's visits to Lithuania may pose a threat to the security of the Republic of Lithuania.”

The Supreme Administrative Court upheld the lower court's conclusions that countries “have the right to control the entry and residence of aliens into their territory”.

The Lithuanian law allows imposing an entry ban on an EU citizen for up to five years only when their visit “may represent a threat to national security or public policy”, the court noted.

Kirkorov has dual citizenship of Russia and Bulgaria.

“The applicant's behaviour, his previous actions and the nature of these actions give grounds for the conclusion that the applicant does pose a threat to the security of the state,” the court said in a press release.

Since the entry ban only applies in Lithuania, the right of Kirkorov as an EU citizen to move freely within the territory of other member states and perform there was not restricted by the contested decision, according to the court.

The Migration Department blacklisted Kirkorov last January at the Foreign Ministry's request.

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