Amnesty Says Prosecutors, Tax Officials Raid Office in Moscow

Russian prosecutors and tax officials raided Amnesty International’s Moscow office today, adding to a series of inspections of non-government organizations.

The inspectors said they were checking compliance with Russian legislation on NGOs, Amnesty said in an e-mailed statement. The rules have increased restrictions on NGOs’ activities, the London-based human rights group said.

Amnesty International has repeatedly “expressed its fears that NGO laws would be used to harass and seek the closure of those highlighting abuses and critical of the government,” the group said.

Russian lawmakers last year required groups that receive money from abroad to register themselves as “foreign agents” and submit to tighter controls. The Justice Ministry threatened to close human rights organization Memorial, vote-monitor Golos and the Moscow branch of anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International after they said they would flout the new rules.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s administration also ordered the closing of U.S. aid agency USAID, which has financed NGOs in Russia including Golos and Memorial.

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