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Russian Police Raid Human Rights Group

For Human Rights head Lev Ponomaryov remained in the groups offices after the eviction by officials.
MOSCOW -- Police and local government officials have raided the Moscow offices of one of Russia's best-known human rights groups.

Aleksandra Bukvaryova, the program coordinator of the For Human Rights group, told RFE/RL that officials told staff on June 21 to immediately vacate the building, which is owned by the Moscow city government, saying the lease had run out.

Bukvaryova said the group had operated out of the premises since the late 1990s and was in the process of renegotiating the lease contract.

The head of the group, veteran rights campaigner Lev Ponomaryov, who remained inside the office, said he believed the raid was politically motivated.

It comes amid a crackdown on rights groups following the adoption of a controversial new law requiring nongovernmental organizations that carry out political activities and receive funding from abroad to register as "foreign agents."

See RFE/RL's Full Coverage Of Russia's NGO Crackdown

With reporting by AFP