Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius says that Russia's decision to ban Mark Feigin, a lawyer and human rights defender who was to take part in an opposition event in Vilnius, from leaving the country appears to be "a political move".
Mark Feigin. Foto RIA Novosti
© RIA Novosti / "Infogra"

Organizers of the second Free Russia Forum have no doubt that it is a political move.

"The reason (cited by the authorities) is that he (Feigin) has not paid a tax. He himself says that he has documents proving that he owes nothing. It looks very much like a political move," Linkevičius told BNS.

Linkevičius, who is meeting with the forum's organizers on Friday, said that Feigin had planned up to the last minute to fly to Vilnius. The minister underlined that this was not the first time that human rights defenders and opposition activists had been hindered from going to the forum.

"We do not have all the facts, but we can assume that these reasons are more invented than real. In the past, there have also been cases (of obstacles being created), including for participants of the Free Russia Forum," Linkevičius said.

"Of course, we find the decision very regrettable and hope that the situation will be resolved in the near future. If this is a political case, legal arguments will hardly help," he added.

Feigin told the Russian news agency Interfax that the Russian Federal Bailiff Service had banned him from leaving the country because he was on the service's debtor database.

The lawyer was on the list of speakers at the Free Russian Forum, which is getting underway in Vilnius on Friday.

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