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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

British Journalist Denied Visa

British journalist Tom de Waal has been denied a Russian visa in what he said Monday was retaliation for his critical reporting about Chechnya.

De Waal, a former Moscow Times reporter and co-author of a book about the first Chechen war, was planning to come to Russia at the invitation of the Union of Journalists to attend the presentation of a Russian version of his new book on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

But the Federal Migration Service turned down his request for a visa, he said.

In a letter refusing his application, the agency cited a 1996 law that says a visa could be refused "with the aim of securing state security," he said.

Migration officials could not be immediately reached for comment Monday. The agency usually refuses to comment on individual cases.

"This clearly must be because of the other main thing that I write about, that is. Chechnya," de Waal said by telephone from London.

De Waal said he believed he had offended Russian authorities by appearing as an expert witness for the defense at the extradition trial of Chechen rebel envoy Akhmed Zakayev in London.

"On the other hand, I have been to Russia twice since then, including to the North Caucasus," he added.

The British court in 2003 declined to extradite Zakayev, granting him political asylum instead. Russian prosecutors are continuing to try to secure his extradition.

De Waal last visited Russia in January 2005.