The human rights group, Amnesty International, has been evicted from their Moscow office. The Russian government – who own the building– have claimed that Amnesty International’s rent was in arrears. Amnesty claim that this is untrue and that they have documentation to prove it.
The first that staff knew about the eviction was when they attended for work and found that the locks had been changed, an official notice was placed on the door, and all utilities had been disconnected. Amnesty International’s European director, John Dalhuisen, has said that he believes the eviction could be part of a crackdown on groups that campaign for human rights and(or) criticise Putin’s regime.
The building’s management issued a statement claiming that they had sent written warnings to Amnesty International, warning them about the arrears. They went on to say that: “The complaint was ignored by an unscrupulous tenant. We have voided Amnesty’s lease on the grounds that the tenant was violating the terms of the rental agreement.
Dalhuisen hit back, stating:
“This bizarre claim is simply not true. Documents show that the property was paid up to and including October. As an organisation, along with others, that has criticised the Russian authorities, it is possible this fits into the context of the squeeze on civil society.”
Amnesty International has been a long-standing critic of the Russian regime, Putin, and what they believe to be human rights violations in the Syrian city of Allepo. The Russian authorities claim that groups like Amnesty International are working on behalf of western governments to whip up unrest and discontent.
Amnesty International have contacted the Moscow city authorities to try and resolve the situation, but have not yet received a reply.