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Editor-in-chief of Russia’s Sputnik Lithuania news agency detained at Vilnius airport & deported

Editor-in-chief of Russia’s Sputnik Lithuania news agency detained at Vilnius airport & deported
The editor-in-chief of the Lithuanian branch of Russia’s Sputnik news agency was detained on arrival to the Vilnius airport and labeled “a threat to the national security” of Lithuania. He was deported back to neighboring Latvia.

Marat Kasem himself told RIA-Novosti of his detention. The journalist said he has been banned from entering Lithuania for the next five years.

The editor-in-chief of Sputnik Lithuania arrived in the country from Moscow on a business trip on Tuesday.

Kasem is on the blacklist list of people who are barred from entering Lithuania, a spokesman for the Border Guard Service said. The journalist was escorted to a plane heading to Latvia as he’s a Latvian citizen, he added.

The Russian mission at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe has decried Kasem’s detention as a “grave violation of media freedom.”

It’s not the first time that Russian journalists have faced persecution in the Baltic States. Last summer, Sputnik Latvia’s editor-in-chief, Valentin Rozentsov, was detained at Riga airport. He was held by police for 12 hours and interrogated before being released.

RT

Sputnik earlier said that pressure on its journalists has become a common occurrence in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia where local authorities are concerned about the popularity of the agency and the alternative view it provides.

In neighboring Ukraine, the head of RIA-Novosti Ukraine, Kirill Vyshinsky, has been in custody for more than a year after being accused of treason while working as a journalist.

Also on rt.com Year of selective blindness: Russian journalist still in Ukrainian jail under bogus treason charges

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