Moscow Court Rejects Pasko’s Appeal for International Passport


Moscow’s Lyublino District Court Wednesday examined journalist Grigory Pasko’s appeal against the actions of the Visa and Registration Office No. 3, or OVIR, of the Southeast Administrative District of Moscow, which had earlier rejected Pasko’s application for an international passport.

Pasko’s lawyer, Ivan Pavlov, told Bellona Web that the journalist would appeal the court’s decision. “OVIR bases its decision not to issue the international passport on some order of 1998, signed by the chief of one of Moscow’s police precincts. The order states that release on parole is not a complete release from the sentence,” the lawyer said.

“A person’s rights can only be limited by law, not by an order by some minor bureaucrat, who in this case is not even a minister and not even the head of the Moscow police. The order is not a normative act and is unacceptable in this case,” said Pavlov. According to Article 79 of the Russian Criminal Code, release on parole is one the types of release from punishment, therefore it cannot limit the right to travel outside the Russian Federation.

Representatives of OVIR—which is subordinate to the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs—did not appear in court for the hearing. The case was heard in their absence.

“I am starting to feel pressure again, but this isn’t new, we Pasko and his defence team have dealt with all of that before,” Pasko had told Bellona Web at the time his application for an international passport was rejected. “This is the next stage of petty and mean revenge. They don’t let me meet people who have supported me. I have three invitations from Amnesty International, two from ‘Reporters Sans Frontieres’ [Reporters without borders], and a number of invitations from different PEN centres which are all located outside Russia.”