Appeal Denied for Local U.S. NGO Consultant
Published: August 20, 2014 (Issue # 1825)
The Frunzensky District Court denied on Tuesday an appeal by Jennifer Gaspar, a U.S.-born, St. Petersburg organizational development consultant specializing in NGOs, who is facing deportation from Russia as a “threat to national security” for allegedly unlawful activities in Russia.
The Federal Migration Service (FMS) revoked Gaspar’s residence permit last month despite her having a Russian husband and a five-year-old daughter, and effectively ordered her to leave Russia.
No concrete grounds for the decision were given in the notice signed on July 21 by the chief of the FMS’s St. Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast directorate, Yelena Dunayeva, and delivered to Gaspar by Pochta Rossii (Russian Post) on Aug. 5.
During the trial, which opened on Aug. 12, a representative from the FMS failed to specify the accusations or provide any evidence against Gaspar, but instead referred to a letter from the Federal Security Service (FSB), the Soviet KGB successor.
Anna Krivenkova, a spokesperson for the FMS, said the letter — written by an FSB official in June — represented the “unconditional ground” for revoking Gaspar’s residence permit.
Krivenkova said it was not the job of the FMS to ask the FSB for more information or verify it.
Judge Marina Motova declined repeated requests from Gaspar’s lawyer Sergei Golubok, who asked that the evidence of the alleged illegal activities of Gaspar be presented in court and a representative from the FSB be summoned to court as an interested party.
Motova also declined Golubok’s requests to seek a new judge as he suggested Motova was giving preferential treatment to one of the parties, specifically the FMS.
Gaspar was not present at the trial, but her husband, Ivan Pavlov, came to give evidence as a witness.
Speaking in the courtroom, Pavlov suggested that because of his 20-year-long practice as a human rights lawyer, with him frequently defending people charged by the FSB, some FSB officers could use his wife’s American citizenship to exclude him from future trials.
Later, Pavlov said that Gaspar’s involvement with NGOs could also be a factor, since the Kremlin started a campaign against NGOs and passed the legislation to force them to brand themselves as “foreign agents” following the exposure of massive fraud at the State Duma elections in 2011 and the presidential elections in 2012.
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