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Monday, June 09, 2008

Annals of Neo-Soviet Persecution

Epoch Times reports:

Lidiya Talaizadeh (Lidia Louk, pictured above), an Epoch Times reporter and NTDTV correspondent, who was returning to New York City from Moscow, was released by Russian authorities after she mysteriously vanished in late May of this year. Ms. Talaizadeh was pulled from her plane before its departure by Russian officials.

On May 21, Russian Epoch Times reporter Juliana Kim dropped her colleague, Ms. Talaizadeh, off at Sheremetyevo 2 Airport so that she could catch the 3:30 p.m. flight to JFK. Later, Kim received a SMS text message from Ms. Talaizadeh saying, "They took me off the flight." Her friend tried to call her back, but the phone went straight to voicemail repeatedly, indicating that the phone had been turned off.

Customs and Security officials at the Moscow airport have a different story. They say they have no record of anyone being pulled off any flights or any flights being detained.

Aeroflot airlines would not confirm whether Ms. Talaizadeh had boarded the flight or not. They said they could not release that information to anyone but her husband, Mr. Amir Talaizadeh.

Mr. Talaizadeh in New York called Aeroflot twice to confirm that his wife had boarded the flight. The representatives at Aeroflot refused to release any information without a confirmation number, despite Mr. Talaizadeh reminding them of the legal requirement to release information to the immediate family.

Seeking help from the Russian Consulate in Manhattan, Mr. Talaizadeh was told the only thing he could do was to fill out a form stating what had transpired. The form would be responded to, at the earliest, in 10 days.

According to Mr. Talaizadeh, "It was clear to me that the Russian Government had detained her and was controlling, from behind the scenes, the information that Aeroflot released."

Mr. Talaizadeh believes he knows the reasons for her disappearance. "My wife practices Falun Gong, he explained, "and that practice is being severely persecuted in China; she was being detained because the CCP has close ties to the Russian government and is trying to export the persecution to other countries such as Russia.

"Other Russian practitioners had been detained before and several Chinese practitioners who held UN refugee status were illegally deported back to China."

Tailing and Intimidation

Mr. Talaizadeh explained that Ms. Talaizadeh had gone to Russia in order to act as the host of the Shen Yun Chinese Spectacular show in St. Petersburg, which was to be held the first week of April.

In late March, Ms. Talaizadeh and the contact people for the show in Russia were informed that they could not hold the show unless they removed the content about Falun Gong. Eventually, it was decided by NTD that they could not guarantee security for the dance company and NTD staff, and the show was cancelled. Ms. Talaizadeh was trying to resolve these issues.

She had also been working on an appeal process to Article 8. Article 8 is a treaty that was signed by then President Putin and then head of the Communist party Jiang Zemin. Within the treaty, there was language that specifically states that any organization banned in China would be banned in Russia.

"My wife had met with several attorneys, " continued Mr. Talaizadeh, "and a number of government officials regarding Article 8 and the persecution of Falun Gong in China. As a result of this, and her initial work with the organization of the Shen Yun Show, she noticed she was being followed by Russian agents.

They were not being inconspicuous in any way and made their presence known to her by giving her eye contact when each began his shift, and subsequently followed her wherever she would go as an obvious 'tail.' It was an obvious that the Russian Government was trying to intimidate her while also observing what she was doing."

The detention on May 21 was not the first for Ms. Talaizadeh in Russia. She was detained for holding a Falun Dafa Hao (Falun Dafa is Good) banner at the Olympic Torch Rally in St. Petersburg.

"No reason was given for the detention, says Mr. Talaizadeh. "Several other practitioners who were also at the event without any identifying Falun Gong dress were nonetheless identified and pulled out of lines at the event and also detained for several hours and released.

"Individuals within the Russian Government know that Falun Dafa practitioners are good people, yet the way the Russian Government reacts and follows orders from the CCP is wrong, illegal, and puts its future in jeopardy—after all the CCP itself is collapsing inside China," Mr. Talaizadeh continued.

Mr. Talaizadeh is grateful for his wife's imminent return, but wonders how Russia can successfully abide by a "crazy" law to appease the CCP regime, while still looking sane to the rest of the world

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