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U.S. activist ordered to leave Russia taken from her home by police

Source: Mediazona

On Tuesday, December 29, police officers in Moscow took American human rights lawyer Vanessa Kogan — the executive director of the rights group Justice Initiative, who was recently ordered to leave Russia — from her home and detained her at a police station, Justice Initiative spokesperson Ksenia Babich told Mediazona. 

Law enforcement officers are drawing up a protocol against Kogan for violating the rules for foreigners staying in Russia (under article 18.8 of the Administrative Code). The case is set to appear before Moscow’s Koptevsky District Court.

This particular administrative offense is punishable by a fine, as well as possible expulsion from the country, Mediazona underscores.

Babich assumes that Kogan will be charged under section 1.1 of article 18.8, which stipulates mandatory expulsion. 

In early December, the Russian authorities cancelled Vanessa Kogan’s residency permit, which was issued to her in 2017. She has been living in Russia legally for 11 years and her husband and children are Russian nationals. Kogan applied for Russian citizenship in September 2020.

The authorities decided to cancel Kogan’s residency permit on the grounds that her activities “constitute a threat to the security of the Russian Federation.” According to Kogan, the staff at a migration center in Moscow verbally told her that her “candidacy wasn’t approved by the FSB.”

Kogan was ordered to leave Russia within two weeks. However, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) made an urgent ruling preventing her expulsion from the country until Russian courts consider the complaint against the annulment of her residency permit.

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