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Russian Press Freedom Activist Held In St. Petersburg Airport Released

A well-known activist for press freedom in Russia has been allowed to go home after being held at a St. Petersburg airport and prevented from leaving the country.

Anna Sharogradskaya, 73, is the director of the Institute of Regional Press in Russia's second-largest city.

She told RFE/RL's Russian Service that she was allowed to leave the Pulkovo International Airport after police confiscated her laptop and memory sticks.

Sharogradskaya quoted police as telling her that her belongings would be returned to her after "check-ups."

She expressed hope that she will be able to leave for the United States on June 6, where she is scheduled to deliver lectures at the University of Indiana.

Sharogradskaya said earlier the incident may be connected to her request to a court in May to rule as illegal a prosecutor's decision to check her organization's activities.

NGOs in Russia that receive funding from abroad have been under intense pressure following a controversial 2012 law that requires them to register with the Justice Ministry as "foreign agents."

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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