The Words of the Corley Family
Human Rights In Russia The Deportation Of Jack Corley
January 18, 2006
Moscow/Vienna 18/01/05 - On January 7, 2006 eight members of the FSB (former KGB) came to the office of Mr. John Corley, head of IEF (International Educational Foundation) in Russia. Because Mr. Corley was not in the office, they left a message with his assistant stating that if he did not voluntarily report to the Immigration office that day, he would be arrested and deported. After further consultation with the lawyers, John Corley decided to report to the Immigration office. Later that evening he took a flight to Frankfurt. Several representatives of the FSB were at the airport to ensure that he left on the flight.
Visa cancellation and deportation from Russia
My name is Jack (John) Corley, born in Ireland in 1953 and holding U.S. citizenship. I was assigned to work in Moscow in August 1990 and worked in various activities associated with the Unification Church. My wife joined me in 1991, and our son was born in Moscow in 1995.
Throughout the 1990s I worked as one of the main organizers of the work of the International Educational Foundation (IEF) in the area of character education. My most recent responsibility was as head of the Moscow branch of IEF USA Inc. It was in that capacity that I had obtained my visa, which was due to expire on June 12, 2006.
On December 26, 2005, a policeman and two individuals in civilian clothing came to my home at around 7 p.m. The same policeman as well as one of the other individuals had visited my home to check my documentation several months earlier when I lived in a different apartment. One of the civilians (visiting for the first time) introduced himself as a representative of the Lyublino Branch of the Immigration Department of Moscow City and requested that I surrender my passport, Russian visa, migration card and accreditation card as representative of the IEF so that they could "check the validity" of my registration with the local office of Internal Affairs. I was given a receipt stating that I should attend an interview at the main Immigration office in central Moscow on December 29.
When I went to the Immigration office on December 29, I was informed that my original visa had been cancelled due to "administrative violations" and that I had to leave Russia by January 6 or be deported.
Based on my lawyers’ advice, who agreed that there was no valid legal basis for the authorities’ actions, I decided to ignore the deadline. On January 7, eight members of the FSB (former KGB) came to my office looking for me. Since I was not there, they left a message with my assistant stating that if I did not voluntarily report to the Immigration office that day, I would be arrested and deported. After further consultation with my lawyers, I decided to report to the Immigration office. Later that evening I took a flight to Frankfurt. Several representatives of the FSB were at the airport to ensure that I left on the flight.
P.S. The "administrative violations" referred to above relate to the issue of registration. According to Russian law, all residents and visitors are required to register with the local authorities if they stay for more than three working days. In my case, I was registered at an address other than where I was living due to the fact that the apartment in which I lived (a newly constructed building) was not yet approved to allow occupants to register. Due to this, I was fined on two occasions for violating the requirement. In an effort to resolve this, on December 24 my family moved to another apartment nearby. Two days later my passport was taken from me.
It is important to point out that such "administrative violations" are not a valid reason to cancel a person’s visa or grounds for deportation. The timing of the action also suggests that the authorities were aware of this and acted during the holiday period when the courts were closed and my lawyer was on vacation.
This report has been submitted to FOREF- Europe (Forum fro Religious Freedom – Europe).
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