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Russian Reporter in Poland Persecuted for Professional Reasons: Ambassador

Польша / Poland
Warsaw's pressure on Russian stringer Sviridov violates freedom of speech and abuses the rights of journalists, the Russian Ambassador in Poland states. The authorities have withdrawn the reporter's accreditation without explanation and started revoking his residency permit.

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WARSAW, December 3 (Sputnik) – Leonid Sviridov, the Russian freelance correspondent working in Poland for Russian news agency Rossiya Segodnya, whose journalist accreditation was revoked in October, is being persecuted for his professional activity, Russian Ambassador in Poland Sergei Andreyev said Wednesday.

On October 24, Polish authorities withdrew Sviridov's journalist accreditation without explanation. Later Warsaw started the process of revoking his residency permit. The Russian Foreign Ministry has described Poland's actions as "unwarranted" and "provocative", and that it reserves "the right to take measures in response."

"We have not changed our position on the decision of Polish authorities to revoke the accreditation from Rossiya Segodnya freelance correspondent Leonid Sviridov and to deprive him of a residence permit. Unfortunately, the motives of the Polish authorities remain unclear even after Sviridov and his defense attorney… visited Foreign Citizens Department of Masovian Voevodeship [the Province of Masovia]," the ambassador told RIA Novosti.

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"As long as we have no other explanations, we can only assume that Mr. Sviridov is being persecuted for his journalist activity," Andreyev added.

The ambassador stressed that the situation can be regarded as an attempt to limit freedom of speech, abuse the rights of journalists, and to "place inappropriate pressure on the mass media representative".

The Polish authorities will make a decision in the next few weeks regarding Sviridov's residence after the case files have been thoroughly examined. Sviridov does have the right to lodge an appeal with the administrative court should the court not rule in his favor. According to the journalist's lawyer, the trial process can last for up to six months.

Sviridov received his journalist accreditation in Polish Foreign Ministry in 1998. He has been living and working in Poland since 2003.

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