Mormons win case before high court


Portal-Credo.Ru, 19 July 2017


The provisions of the federal law "On migration accounts," dealing with registration of foreigners at their place of stay, contradict the Russian constitution and are subject to reconsideration. Rosbalt reports on 19 July that the corresponding ruling was issued by the Constitutional Court of the Russian federation.


The reason for consideration of the case was appeals from American citizens Joseph Nefenoil Warden and Parker Drake Oldham. In June 2016 the applicants arrived in Samara in the capacity of volunteers upon the invitation of the religious organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. In the migration account, they were placed at the address of the organization, but they resided in the same city in rented apartments. The agencies of migration control found this to be a violation of the rules of stay in the RF. A court assessed them a fine of 2,000 with administrative deportation from the country. In the opinion of the applicants, this decision by the government violated the constitution of the RF in the part about observing the rights and liberties of citizens. They also pointed to the vagueness of Russian legislation in placing foreigners on the migration account. The concept of "place of stay" has been interpreted by courts in this case as the place of actual residence of a citizen.


The Constitutional Court agreed with the Mormons' arguments. In the judges' opinion, "place of stay," in distinction from "place of registration," may be in a nonresidential location in the event that the foreigners were invited to Russia by some organization. The judges noted that now this standard in the law is unclear and can lead to inappropriate application and infringement of citizens' rights and liberties.


In connection with this, the Constitutional Court ruled to find these provisions of the federal law "On migration accounts of foreign citizens and persons without citizenship" to be in violation of the constitution of the RF. Governmental bodies should deal immediately with removing "the legal vagueness of normative content." They will need to prescribe the clear responsibilities of a foreigner and of the receiving party and also other nuances of placement on the account. Until these change take effect, a temporary procedure will operate. That is, registration at the site of the organization will not be viewed as a violation. Administrative cases of deportation of Mormons from the RF also are subject to reconsideration. (tr. by PDS, posted 19 July 2017)

Background article:
Mormon missionaries lose appeal in high court
June 14, 2017

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