Semyon Simonov. Photo from Semyon Simonov' Facebook page:

13 September 2019, 14:28

Human rights defender from Sochi reports search of his apartment

On September 12, after a search at the apartment of Semyon Simonov, a human rights defender and an expert of the Moscow Helsinki Group, the police seized laptops and documents. This was reported by Semyon Simonov himself.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that searches of homes of employees of the Anti-Corruption Fund and of Navalny's offices began on September 12 in 39 Russian cities, including Krasnodar, Rostov-on-Don, Stavropol and Volgograd. The searches have been launched as a part of the case on "money laundering" at the Anti-Corruption Foundation, informed Leonid Volkov, a Navalny's associate.

Semyon Simonov said that in the morning on September 12, an inquiry officer, a district police inspector, a police squad, a team of the Ministry for Emergencies (MfE), and witnesses came to him with a search. "They burst into our apartment and began to scour the corners and look for documents of the Southern Human Rights Centre, as well as electronic information carriers," Semyon Simonov wrote on his Facebook page on September 12.

According to the human rights defender, the police seized reports of the Southern Human Rights Centre to public institutions and its protocols, as well as several laptops, hard drivers, and USB flash drives.

Then, according to the human rights defender, he was summoned to appear for questioning "immediately." "They brought me to No. 60 in Gorky Street, where I refused to answer their questions without an advocate," Semyon Simonov said.

The human rights defender associates the incident "with a wave of searches that swept across the country." He notes the searches were "aimed at suppressing civil initiatives."

According to advocate Alexander Popkov, the reasons for the search at the human rights defender's apartment are not clear. "Moreover, in the morning (on September 12), in Sochi, another search was conducted at home of relatives of a former activist of the 'Ecological Watch for Northern Caucasus' (EcoWatch). I cannot disclose his name," wrote the advocate on his Facebook page on September 12.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on September 13, 2019 at 09:22 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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