Moscow Not Sparing Protestants from Deportation

MOSCOW, SEPT. 13, 2002 ( A Swedish Protestant is the latest in a growing number of clerical deportees from Russia, as the authorities step up their campaign against foreign religious workers.

The deportation of Leo Martensson, who had worked in Russia as a missionary for nine years, was ordered Tuesday and his visa was canceled, according to the Keston Institute. The institute monitors religious liberty in former Soviet-bloc countries.

“This was an illegal decision — there is no basis for it,” Martensson’s lawyer, Aleksandr Antipyonok, told Keston. The move came on the day that a Polish-born Catholic priest was barred re-entry into the country.

Martensson was also fined 500 rubles. His wife and daughter are still in Russia.