Russian human rights association suspends work after prosecutors’ complaints
MOSCOW, July 18 (Reuters) – An association of human rights lawyers linked to the group of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has suspended work to protect his team after Moscow authorities blocked its website following a is asking prosecutors, she said on Sunday.
Russian authorities took steps ahead of the parliamentary elections in September to restrict opposition groups and independent media which the authorities say are hostile and supported from abroad. Read more
The Komanda 29 Lawyers Association (Team 29) is headed by Ivan Pavlov, who defended Navalny’s group. Pavlov has been under criminal investigation since April, when Russia accused him of leaking classified information about one of his clients. Read more
“The Attorney General’s Office identifies Komanda 29 with Czech NGO Společnost Svobody Informace, which is listed as an undesirable organization (in Russia),” the association said in a statement.
Komanda 29 does not agree and has no relation with the Czech NGO, she said, adding that her lawyers would dispute the identification “but for the moment we cannot ignore the position of the security services “.
“The next step in the attack on us could be the criminal prosecution of Komanda 29 members and their supporters,” he added.
Russia’s attorney general’s office did not respond to a request for comment from Reuters on Sunday evening.
Navalny’s allies have already suspended their groups to protect their supporters, acting ahead of a move that gave authorities formal power to jail activists and freeze their bank accounts if they continue to operate.
Navalny and his associates have launched numerous investigations into what they say is high level corruption. The Kremlin claims the reports are malicious inventions as part of a foreign-backed plot to destabilize the state.
Navalny himself is in jail for parole violation in a case of embezzlement that he says was fabricated. He was arrested in Moscow this year after taking a flight home from Germany where he was recovering from nerve poisoning in Russia.
Reporting by Anton Zverev; written by Polina Devitt; edited by Philippa Fletcher
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.