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Russian Journalist, Rights Activist Briefly Detained At Amsterdam Airport

Journalist Yelena Milashina (left) and rights activist Milana Bakhayeva (composite file photo)

The independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta says one of its correspondents and a human rights activist have been detained at an airport in Amsterdam.

In February 18 report, the Moscow-based paper says that its correspondent Yelena Milashina and Milana Bakhayeva of the respected Memorial human rights center planned to meet with human rights activists dealing with the Syria crisis, but were detained upon their arrival at Schiphol airport.

According to the newspaper, airport police refused to identify themselves and did not explain why the two women were detained. Milashina's mobile phone was confiscated, the newspaper says.

Milashina wrote on Facebook later that she and Bakhayeva were released and a police officer reluctantly apologized and returned the two women's passports and Milashina's mobile phone.

It remains unclear why the women were detained. Milashina suggested on her Facebook account that Bakhayeva's Chechen ethnicity must have been a reason.

Novaya Gazeta -- which has seen five of its reporters killed since 2000 for what human rights defenders say was their professional activities -- is one of Russia's leading independent newspapers, known for its unbiased reports and noted investigative journalists.

Based on reporting by Novaya Gazeta