The editor of the Independent Barents Observer Thomas Nilsen will challenge a travel ban to Russia at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
On May 25 the Russian Supreme Court ruled against Nilsen, who, with the help of Russian human rights defenders, tried to challenge the ban. According to the lawyer of Team 29 Ivan Pavlov, he demanded from the Federal Security Service (FSB) to justify the conclusions that the Norwegian threatened Russian national security:
"The court once again refuses to show the materials on the basis of which the verdict has been made. Consequently, the Supreme Court sides with the FSB which argues that out client threatens Russian national security. Today’s decision opens the way to the ECHR, where we will continue to push for justice."
Lawyers of Team 29 intend to apply to the ECHR as soon as they receive the decision of the Supreme Court.
Thomas Nielsen told «7x7» that he was ready to go to Strasbourg to defend the rights of the media:
"Every country has the right to deny citizens of other country entry. But, like all other states ruled by law, also Russia has to tell what I have done wrong since they proclaim such serious accusations as being a "threat to national security". I'm never convicted of anything during those 30 years I have been traveling in the USSR/Russia. Therefore, I can only presume it is the journalism of Barents Observer that FSB don't like. And that is a question I would like to bring in for the ECHR; It is not for the FSB to filter which media, which journalists who should be allowed to do their job or not. We know the FSB has asked Norwegian officials earlier to close down the Barents Observer. That's not the way it works. FSB can make life hard for us, but they will never manage to stop fair, unbiased cross-border journalism in the north."
In March 2017 Thomas Nielsen was stopped at the border crossing of Borisoglebsk and was denied access to Russia. In December, with the help of Team 29, he tried to challenge this ban in the Moscow City Court, but he lost. On May 25, 2018, Nielsen exhausted the possibility to appeal the ban on entry to Russia in Russian courts.
In March 2018, lawyer Ivan Pavlov got the award of human rights organization Human Rights Watch.
In January 2018, it became known that the Norwegian Frode Berg was arrested in Norway on charges of espionage. Berg supported his fellow countrymen from Kirkenes, who lit torches and marched through the city.
Daniil Kuznetsov, Gleb Yarovoy, «7x7»