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A reporter with the Persian Service of the BBC says she was prevented from flying to the United States because she was born in Iran.

The journalist, Rana Rahimpour, wrote on Twitter on January 19 that she was turned away from her flight at London's Heathrow airport because of a new regulation under which European Union citizens who are dual nationals of Iran, Iraq, Syria, or Sudan, or traveled to those countries in the past five years, need to apply for a visa.

Rahimpour said she was planning to visit relatives in New Jersey.

The new visa restrictions passed last month in the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, have been criticized by some Iranians and others as “discriminatory.”

Rahimpour, who was born in Iran, has a British passport.

She described the new rules as “very unfair.”

“To be treated differently from other British citizens because of my Iranian heritage is very distressing,” she was quoted as saying.

Based on reporting by Politico, The New York Times, and the BBC
Russian journalist and blogger Dmitry Shipilov

Russian journalist Dmitry Shipilov from the Kemerovo region in Siberia has received political asylum in Ukraine.

Shipilov placed a photo on January 19 of his refugee document issued by Ukraine's Migration Service with a caption saying "the 10-month process is over at last, thanks to all."

Shipilov, who arrived in Ukraine in February 2014 and asked for political asylum, was sentenced to 11 months of community service in 2012 after he was convicted of insulting Kemerovo Governor Aman Tuleyev, who has governed the region since 1997.

After refusing to perform community service, Shipilov was arrested in 2014 and spent three months in jail.

In 2014, Shipilov was under pressure over an interview he did with Siberian activist Artyom Loskutov, an organizer of a march calling for the "federalization" of Siberia that would mock Russian demands that Ukraine be federalized.

The march was banned by authorities and never took place.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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