Media group presses Russia over "stranded" reporter
( Reuter )- A U.S. media watchdog urged Russia on Friday to allow entry to an investigative reporter turned away this week as a threat to national security.
Moldovan citizen Natalya Morari has refused to leave a Moscow airport transit area since Wednesday when she was turned away despite what she said was her legal right to entry along with her husband, a Russian citizen.
"We are appalled by the treatment of our colleagues who have been harassed and held in limbo," said Nina Ognianova, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Europe and Central Asia Programme co-coordinator.
Morari, 24, has linked her expulsion to articles she wrote in the small opposition magazine The New Times connecting the September 2006 murder of a central bank deputy governor to senior Russian officials.
The Russian embassy in Moldova says she is on a list of people banned entry as a threat to the health and safety of Russian people. She was deported from Russia in December upon her return from a press trip to Israel.
CPJ's Ognianova said neither Morari nor her husband, Ilya Barabanov, had access to either a lawyer or a regular food supply at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport.
"Authorities must stop these intimidation tactics against Morari and Barabanov and grant both of them immediate entry to Russia," the CPJ coordinator said.
Rights groups say the Kremlin seeks to eliminate opposition critical of its power, including journalists and political candidates, in the run-up to Sunday's presidential election. The Russian government has denied the allegations.