Russian journalist Titov asks Lithuania to review asylum finding

Eugenijus Titovas

Russian journalist Yevgeni Titov on Tuesday asked Lithuania's Migration Department to reconsider his application for political asylum.

Titov offered a settlement to the department, pledging to withdraw his plea from the Lithuanian Supreme Administrative Court, if the institution agreed to reconsider his application for political asylum in Lithuania.

"I submitted the plea to the Lithuanian minister of interior affairs and the Migration Department. My solution I proposed is: I withdraw my appeal and they review my asylum application amid new circumstances," the journalist told BNS.

In Titov's words, the new circumstances include the two broadcasts aired on Russia's state television Rossiya 24 in early July.

The broadcasts tell about an earlier decision of Lithuanian authorities to deny the journalist a residence permit. The immigrant said that the interest of the state-run channel in his status demonstrated the threats he was still facing in Russia.

"After the broadcasts on the state television, all of Russia learned about he, therefore, my life, safety and freedom would be in clear danger, if I returned to Russia," Titov said in his plea.

Evelina Gudzinskaitė, the head of the Migration Department, said last week that the negative decision in connection to his asylum application did not prevent the journalist from repeated applications for residence in Lithuania, should new circumstances emerge.

Titov, who came to Lithuania from Krasnodar in late 2016, has told BNS that he was afraid to stay in Russia after facing pressure from the authorities over his activities.

The Migration Department on Feb. 21, 2017 refused to grant asylum to the Russian journalist, saying that his fears were objectively unsubstantiated. The Vilnius Regional Administrative Court on Jun. 14 rejected his appeal against the department's decision on the same grounds.

The journalist turned to the Lithuanian Supreme Administrative Court over the decision.

Titov fears criminal charges in Russia on the suspicion of spying, as he had traveled to Eastern Ukraine in cooperation with the Lithuanian national broadcaster LRT in Lithuania to cover the war between the government's forces and Russian-supported separatists.

He said he had been followed in Russia and faced indirect threats.

Lithuania's Foreign Ministry said it had submitted a conclusion to the migration authorities, saying Titov would be in danger upon return to Russia.

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