Russian Asks Explanation for Expulsion of Catholic Priests

MOSCOW, SEPT. 16, 2002 ( A Liberal deputy grilled the head of the Russian Federation’s diplomacy on the recent expulsion of Catholic priests, parliamentary sources reported.

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Referring to the expulsion over the past few months of the Catholic bishop of eastern Siberia and of four priests, Serguei Mitrokhin of the Yabloko Party noted the international effects of these measures and asked Igor Ivanov for the causes.

The Liberal deputy then asked if other Catholic priests were on the blacklist of unwelcome individuals and what is “the risk to national security” represented by expelled Bishop Jerzy Mazur.

The Office of the Commissar for Human Rights of Russia said that the bishop was expelled under Article 27 of the law of entry and exit of foreigners. That article invokes “state security” as a reason to prohibit the entry of a foreigner.

Ivanov’s reply should be known within a month, parliamentary sources reported.

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