Tags: amnesty international | moscow | office | sealed

Amnesty International's Moscow Office Sealed

Image: Amnesty International's Moscow Office Sealed

Sergei Nikitin, the head of Amnesty International in Russia speaks to the media in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

By    |   Wednesday, 02 Nov 2016 01:58 PM

Amnesty International's Moscow office was sealed and the group evicted Wednesday after it accused the Kremlin of violating human rights with its Syrian bombing campaign

Moscow city officials said they closed the office because Amnesty International was behind in the rent, but the organization told Reuters that it has documented proof that its rent payments were current.

Amnesty International's Europe director John Dalhuisen told the news agency that the eviction could be part of an official crackdown on civil society groups that have criticize the Kremlin, but he said there were other possible explanations too.

"Given the current climate for civil society work in Russia, there are clearly any number of plausible explanations, but it's too early to draw any conclusions," Dalhuisen said, according to the BBC News. "We are working to resolve the situation as swiftly as possible and very much hope there is a simple administrative explanation for this setback to our work. We are 100 percent confident that we fulfilled all our obligations as tenants."

Sergei Nikitin, director of Amnesty International representative office in Russia, told reporters that Amnesty had always paid the rent on time and has rented the building for 20 years, The Washington Post reported.

"Human rights groups that have criticized Russian authorities have faced what activists describe as an official campaign of harassment," wrote David Filipov, of the Post. "Some nongovernmental organizations that work in Russia and receive funding from abroad have been designated as 'foreign agents,' which gives Russian prosecutors the power to shut down any international organization deemed 'undesirable.'"

A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin said, according to the BBC News, that he had no information about what had happened to the Amnesty International office.

"This is the first time I've heard about it," Dmitry Peskov told journalists, the privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax stated, per the BBC News.

Amnesty International on Tuesday demanded authorities release Ildar Dadin, a street protester convicted of participation in unauthorized assemblies, and investigate his allegations of torture, according to the Post.

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Amnesty International's Moscow office was sealed and the group evicted Wednesday after it accused the Kremlin of violating human rights with its Syrian bombing campaign.
amnesty international, moscow, office, sealed
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2016-58-02
Wednesday, 02 Nov 2016 01:58 PM
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