Norwegian Arctic journalist barred from Russia is suing to overturn the decision

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Independent Barents Observer Editor Thomas Nilsen is suing Russia's FSB to overturn a decision barring him from entering that nation for five years. (Atle Staalesen/ The Independent Barents Observer)
Independent Barents Observer Editor Thomas Nilsen is suing Russia’s FSB to overturn a decision barring him from entering that nation for five years. (Atle Staalesen / The Independent Barents Observer)

The editor of a prominent Arctic news site who was detained by Russian security earlier this year and subsequently barred from entering the country has sued to overturn that decision.

Thomas Nilsen, editor of Kirkenes, Norway-based news site The Independent Barents Observer, was stopped at a border crossing in March by Russia’s Federal Security Services (FSB) and told he was barred from entering the country for five years. (The Independent Barents Observer is a member of Arctic Now and its reports, including from Nilsen, regularly appear on this site.)

The incident received international attention and an alert was registered by the European Commission of Human Rights’ program on media freedom.

Now, a team of lawyers representing Nilsen is suing the FSB to overturn the travel ban, the Barents Observer reports.

The lawsuit argues that FSB’s move to restrict Nilsen’s travel runs afoul of Russia’s constitution.

The suit was filed in a court in Petrozavodsk, a city in Karelia where the FSB’s Border Guard Service has a regional headquarters.

This isn’t the first time Nilsen has found himself at odds with Russian authorities.

When he was fired from a previous iteration of the Barents Observer, NRK, citing anonymous sources within the Norwegian government, reported that it was at the behest of the FSB. (At the time, Russia’s embassy in Norway denied those reports.)

Before Nilsen was fired, Russia’s Kirkenes-based Consul General, Mikhail Noskov, criticized the site’s reporting on Russia as one-sided.