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Russian prosecutors search Amnesty International office

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Russian prosecutors on Monday searched the offices of Amnesty International as part of an ongoing campaign against non-governmental organisations with foreign funding.

The head of Amnesty International's Russia branch said three prosecutors and a tax official had arrived in their Moscow offices earlier in the day, requesting copies of the charter documents.

Sergei Nikitin linked the raid to a controversial law passed last year that requires NGOs receiving foreign funding and involved in political activities to register as "foreign agents".

The law was fast-tracked through parliament after Vladimir Putin returned to the Kremlin for a third term last May in a move activists say was designed to intimidate Kremlin critics.

"We remember Putin's statement that this law should work," Nikitin told AFP. The raid came even though Amnesty International was not slated for any planned checks by prosecutors this year, he added.

The raid on Amnesty International comes after prosecutors searched the offices of Memorial, one of Russia's most prominent rights groups, last week. A Memorial official said that more than 100 other pro-democracy NGOs had undergone similar checks recently.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130325/russian-prosecutors-search-amnesty-international-office