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Europe rights court rules Russia illegally deported US missionary

[JURIST] The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website; JURIST news archive] on Thursday ruled [decision; press release] that the Russian government was guilty of infringing on US missionary Patrick Nolan's religious freedoms and other human rights by expelling him from the country in 2002 under national security pretenses. The court found that the government violated Article 38 § 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights [text, PDF] for failing to cooperate with the ECHR by not providing the Federal Security Service report explaining their reasons for expulsion, Article 5 § 1 for failing to protect Nolan from deprivation of liberty, Article 8 for failing to consider the welfare of Nolan's infant son, Article 9 for infringing on his freedom of religion, and Article 1 of Protocol No. 7 for failing to communicate their reasons for expulsion. The court awarded Nolan 7,000 euros in damages although 20,000 was originally sought.

Nolan, a missionary with Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church [church website], was initially denied re-entry into Russia in 2002 after a trip to Cyprus and was "locked in a small room with no phone, ventilation or windows" at the airport overnight before being deported. Over a month later, Nolan obtained a new visa but was again denied entry into the country, resulting in him being separated from his infant son for ten months. Nolan initially filed complaints against the Moscow Border Control of the Federal Border Service in June 2002. The Russian government addressed Nolan's complaints without clarity by claiming that his activities were a threat to national security but failed to explain what the activities were. In 2003, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation [official website, in Russian] denied Nolan's appeal by holding that Russia retained sovereignty over issues of national security.

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