Freedom House Slams Violent Attack on Russian NGO | Freedom House

Freedom House Slams Violent Attack on Russian NGO

Washington

Freedom House condemns a violent assault by Russian authorities on the staff of one of the country's most prominent NGOs, “For Human Rights,” including its chair, Lev Ponomaryov, and calls on the international community to register its strong opposition to such thuggish tactics.
 
At approximately 2:00am Moscow time on June 22, a group of unidentified individuals assaulted the staff and the chair of the NGO “For Human Rights,” as well as the chair of the political party “Yabloko,” Sergey Mitrokhin.  Earlier on Friday,  police raided the NGO's office, changed the locks and forced the staff to leave the premises. Authorities claim that the lease of the premises ended in February, 2013; however, Ponomaryov denies receiving proper documentation from the landlord informing the NGO of the decision not to renew the lease. In the course of the attack, people were thrown on the ground and violently beaten, including women, according to Olga Trusevich, member of the Human Rights Center “Memorial.”  The police, however, refused to intevene or demand identification from the assailants.
 
“It’s been clear for a while that the Russian government is not interested in respecting the country’s civil society,” said David J. Kramer, president of Freedom House.  “But this assault reaches a new low.  We urge the international community to condemn in the strongest possible terms such behavior and call for an end to the Kremlin’s ongoing yet increasingly menacing crackdown on the civil society.  No one in Russia and no NGO remains safe from the arbitrary persecution by the Russian authorities, and the international community must start taking it seriously,” Kramer added.
 
Russia is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2013, Freedom House's annual global survey of political rights and civil liberties, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2013 and Partly Free in Freedom on the Net 2012.
 
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Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.
 
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Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

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