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Asylum for Elena Maglevannaya!

The Finnish-Russian Civic Forum (FINROSFORUM) promotes cooperation between the peoples of Finland and Russia by supporting civic initiatives for democracy, human rights, and free speech.




Dear Finnish migration authorities,

We urge you to grant asylum to the Russian human rights defender and journalist Elena Maglevannaya. She arrived in Finland in late May 2009 and has stayed there since. Maglevannaya decided to apply for asylum in Finland after she was persecuted by the Russian authorities for her articles about the torture of Chechen inmates in Russian prisons. Moreover, Maglevannaya received several death threats from Russian ultranationalist organisations closely linked to the authorities.

All this made it impossible for Elena Maglevannaya to return to Russia, where she faced jail time and/or near certain death. In many of her articles, Maglevannaya criticised harshly the policies of the Russian government, particularly Russia’s military aggression against Chechnya. Several Russian journalists who have written about the conflict and who have condemned Russia’s war crimes in Chechnya have either been killed (e.g., Anna Politkovskaya) or jailed (e.g., Boris Stomakhin).

In our opinion, the case of Elena Maglevannaya falls under Chapter I Article 1 of the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which states: “The term “refugee” shall apply to any person who […] owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of […] political opinion, is outside the country of [her] nationality and is unable […] to avail [herself] of the protection of that country.”

In accordance with the statutes of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, we the undersigned appeal to the Finnish migration authorities to grant asylum to the Russian journalist Elena Maglevannaya and protect her from political persecution in Russia.

Rubati Mitsayeva, Chair of the Warsaw Committee of “Freedom of Speech”;
Mairbek Taramov, Director of the Chechen Human Rights Centre;
David Kudykov, academician, United Kingdom;
Yevgeny Novozhilov, independent journalist, Russia;
Frants Avdzei, Belarusian journalist, Chairman of the Belarusian Distress Foundation, Poland;
Ivan Grabarchuk, independent journalist, Ukraine;
Anzor Maskhadov, journalist, son of the late President of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, Norway;
Andrey Derevyankin, former political prisoner, Russia;
Maiu Plado, human rights activist, Estonia;
Said-Emin Ibragimov, President of “Peace and Human Rights” Association, France;
Nadezhda Banchik, Amnesty International, USA;
Viktoria Pupko, President of the Anna Politkovskaya Foundation, USA;
Hana Demeterová, human rights activist, Czech Republic;
Roman Chornyi, human rights activist, doctor, St Petersburg, Russia;
Eldar Zeynalov, Director of the Human Rights Centre of Azerbaijan.

Please sign the petition here!


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