Refusal of Spanish citizenship to a Russian linked to his country’s intelligence services

The National Court rejected the appeal of a Russian citizen who was denied Spanish citizenship after alerting the CNI that he worked in the intelligence services of his country and recommended that his application not be accepted on grounds of “national security”.

In its ruling in May, the court upheld the decision by the Ministry of Justice, which held that the man had not justified the “good civil behavior” required by Article 22.4 of the Civil Code to grant citizenship by residence.

The infected person is a Russian citizen born in 1988, married to a Spanish woman in December 2016, and has resided in Spain since February 2017.

The Department of Justice relied on the CNI report

To deny his application for Spanish citizenship, Justice relied on a CNI report, which recommended his refusal because he had “proved knowledge of the conscientious work of the interested party of the Russian intelligence services, from which he receives missions”.

Similarly, CNI added, “This person’s contacts with some key leaders of transnational organized crime of Russian origin, for whom he also performs various missions, were revealed.”

CNI warning

“This person’s contacts with some of the key leaders of transnational organized crime of Russian origin have been exposed.”

For the judges of the National Court, the report “sufficiently expresses the inadmissibility of granting the requested nationality”, although the party concerned questions its content.

In addition to that document, they indicated that there was a criminal case against him – precisely for the alleged crime of “revealing secrets” – and whose “temporary” file was due to the fact that his whereabouts had not been found.

criminal case against

It is, as the sentence highlights, “a history of possible involvement in criminal and dangerous related acts, which also makes it difficult to assess compliance with the good behavior requirement.”

To obtain citizenship by residence, you must meet specific requirements, such as proving a specific period of legal residence in the country, and other non-specific requirements, such as justifying good civic behavior or a sufficient degree of integration into Spanish society.

Good civil behaviour

The justices point out that to demonstrate such inclusion it is not necessary to respond to the generally accepted picture of what a “good citizen” should be, but they also maintain that not having a criminal record simply does not lead to a display of good civic behaviour.

They noted that “it is entirely possible, depending on the circumstances of the case, that a person without a criminal record, or whose record is null, will be deemed to lack good civil behaviour, and vice versa.”

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