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Russian Lawyer Wins Norwegian Human Rights Prize

Pavel Chikov

A Norwegian human rights foundation has given its annual prize to a Russian lawyer and the legal aid group he heads for their work defending the right to fair trials.

The Rafto Foundation said on September 25 that Pavel Chikov, 36, and the Agora group were selected for helping activists, bloggers, journalists, and NGOs against the unlawful actions of Russian government agencies.

The Rafto Prize, awarded every year since 1987, comes with a $20,000 prize and is presented in November in the western Norwegian city of Bergen.

However, Agora will not accept the award as it will endanger its legal status in Russia, where NGOs receiving financial support from abroad are officially registered as "foreign agents" and might face closure.

Based on reporting by Reuters and ITAR-TASS