FSB agent. Photo: RIA Novosti archive, photo #421316 / Andrei Stenin / CC-BY-SA 3.0

15 August 2019, 15:00

"Legal Initiative": law enforcers pursue human rights defenders in Caucasus

On August 14, the Moscow office of the "Legal Initiative" was searched. Law enforcers explained it by their interest in another organization located in the same building. However, law enforcers photographed passports of employees of the "Legal Initiative" and asked them questions about the NGO's activities in Northern Caucasus, the human rights defenders reported.

On August 14, law enforcers conducted searches in the building where the offices of the "Legal Initiative" and its partner organizations were located, reported on the same day Ksenia Babich, the press secretary of the "Legal Initiative", on her Facebook page. "According to the law enforcers, they had a search warrant for the entire building, and they were searching the neighbouring office, which was not related to our project. They took mobile phones from the NGO employees and photographed their passports," Ksenia Babich wrote. She added that the mobile phones were returned to the NGO employees later.

"[The law enforcers] refused to show us any search warrants," Ksenia Babich added.

The human rights defenders intend to file complaints about the actions of the law enforcers, since "they did not have permission to seize and inspect mobile phones, and they took them by force," stated Ksenia Babich as quoted today by the "Kommersant".

The special services agents photographed passports of the human rights defenders who were in the office and "forwarded the photos to someone without explaining their actions," said Olga Gnezdilova, a lawyer of the "Legal Initiative". "They asked us if we were engaged in highlighting events in Northern Caucasus. They also asked us why folders with documents were signed with Chechen surnames," the "Kommersant" quotes the lawyer as saying.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on August 15, 2019 at 10:25 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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