Two American journalists were briefly detained in Russia Thursday for teaching an investigative journalism workshop.
Joe Bergantino, the executive director and co-founder of the New England Center for Investigative Reporting, and Randy Covington, a University of South Carolina professor were detained for several hours by immigration authorities as they began a two-day workshop with 14 Russian journalists in St. Petersburg.
They were taken to a Russian court and found guilty of “violating the visa regime'' because their activities in the country "did not correspond to the stated purpose of their visit.''
They received a verbal warning and were told they were free to leave the country as scheduled on Saturday. The district court could not be immediately reached late Thursday.
The New England Center for Investigative Reporting stated in a press release that the two journalists were on a visa type recommended by the U.S. State Department for that particular visit.
Russian authorities have used visa issues in the past to prevent certain individuals from entering the country.