Russians raid Amnesty International office

March 25, 2013 at 4:29 PM
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MOSCOW, March 25 (UPI) -- Russian authorities, in part of a months-long crackdown on international non-profits, raided the headquarters of Amnesty International Monday.

The head of the agency in Russia, Sergei Nikitin, told The New York Times by telephone from Moscow Kremlin officials arrived at the agency's office unexpectedly. They demanded a list of documents that were already on file with the government.

Nikitin said the Russian officials called the unscheduled visit an "audit" and demanded the documents, which Amnesty International workers were hurrying to turn over.

"They don't have any concrete complaints," he said. "They say it's a regular check and other cliche phrases."

State-controlled media arrived shortly after the Russian officials and harassed staff, Nikitin said.

The Russian government has been clamping down on international non-profits operating in the country, forcing some, depending on their funding sources, to register as "foreign agents." The Russian Parliament has passed strict new rules governing how international aid groups can operate in the country. The Kremlin recently stopped cooperating with the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, which closed its office there.

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