Support The Moscow Times!

Iran Says Russian Journalist Was Detained for 'Visa Violation' Not Spying

Yulia Yuzik md-gazeta.ru

A Russian journalist who is being held in Iran was detained last week for a visa violation and not for spying, the Students News Agency ISNA quoted Iran's government spokesman as saying on Monday.

The spokesman said Yulia Yuzik's case was undergoing a "quick review" by the Iranian authorities but gave no more details.

"Her case was a matter of visa violation and it was not related to espionage ... Yuzik's case is under quick review by Iranian authorities," said the spokesman, Ali Rabiei.

Moscow has close economic and political ties with Tehran, and it is unusual for the latter to target Russian citizens.

Russia's Foreign Ministry had summoned the Iranian ambassador on Friday over Yuzik's detention and the Kremlin said on Monday it hoped Yuzik would be released soon.

"We view negatively detentions of Russian journalists and consider them unacceptable. We hope that in the very near future she will be released and the Russian side will get the necessary explanations," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

In a brief phone conversation with her mother late on Thursday, Yuzik said security forces had broken into her hotel room and detained her on suspicion of having ties to Israeli intelligence services, her ex-husband Boris Voitsekhovsky said.

Voitsekhovsky said Yuzik did not hold joint Israeli citizenship or a visa for that country and last visited Israel about 15 or 17 years ago to report on the Israeli army's daily life for Russia's "Komsomolskaya Pravda" newspaper. 

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

As we approach the holiday season, please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world’s largest country.