Russia must not expel human rights lawyer

The US human rights lawyer, Vanessa Kogan, has spent 11 years in Russia defending victims of abuse. Now she is ordered to leave within a fortnight as she is “a threat to national security”.

Vanessa Kogan is a US human rights lawyer with Russian family who has lived legally 11 years in Moscow. Recently she even applied for Russian citizenship. She is director of the Stichting justice Initiative, an organisation that seeks legal address for grave human rights violations and gender based violence in Russia and neighbouring countries.

Stichting justice Initiative have secured justice in nearly 270 cases in the European Court of Human Rights and is a highly respected organisation. The judgments in support of victims of grave human rights violations in North Caucasus and survivors of domestic violence have created precedent in the whole region.

“We see the revocation of Vanessa’s residence permit yet another example of the Russian authorities’ repression against human rights defenders in the country. The spurious argument that a human rights lawyer defending hundreds of Russian citizens “poses a threat to national security of the Russian Federation” is testimony to that,” says Lene Wetteland, head of Russian Section in the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.

We see the revocation of Vanessa’s residence permit yet another example of the Russian authorities’ repression against human rights defenders in the country


Lene Wetteland

The decision by the Russian authorities to revoke Kogan’s residence permit and ordering her to leave the country within 14 days is in clear violation both of her legal right to exercise her freedoms of expression and of association, as well as her right to family life. Her husband is Russian citizen, the children dual citizens, and due to the COVID pandemic and other restrictions it is hard to see how they will be able to exercise their family life if Kogan is expelled.

Together with other international human rights organisations the NHC has published a statement urging the Russian authorities to restore her residence permit and allow her to continue her family life and important human rights work in Russia without fear of reprisals.

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Lene Wetteland

Senior Adviser AdvocacyEmail: [email protected]Phone: +47 97 69 75 53Twitter: @lenewett
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