Expelled Guardian journalist ventures back to Russia
Luke Harding arrived in Russia on Saturday and will be able to receive his journalistic accreditation on Monday, head of Foreign Press Association of Moscow Adib Al Sayed told RIA Novosti news agency.
"The visa was issued to Mr. Harding as early as Friday," an official from the Russian Embassy in London told Interfax on Sunday.
On February 5, 2011 Russian border services denied Luke Harding’s entry to Russia and he had to return to the United Kingdom. Russian Foreign Ministry said that the journalist had breached the rules of accreditation for foreign journalists in Russia. In particular, he had left Russia for London without receiving a special foreign journalist certificate.
Luke Harding has been working as the Guardian’s foreign correspondent for the last four years. He was lately covering materials obtained by WikiLeaks website, including on Russian politicians and businessmen.
Harding and his colleagues believe that he was expelled due to his journalistic activities. RIA Novosti news agency earlier cited a source in the Russian law enforcement, who said that Harding was blacklisted as a person whose presence in the country was "undesirable."
Russian authorities insisted that they refused entry to Luke Harding due to the accreditation breaches. The Russian Foreign Ministry said that Russian Embassy in the United Kingdom was ready to issue a visa to Harding as soon as he resolves all “technical issues”.