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December 20, 2012

Police Raid in the Voronezh Human Rights House

The premises of the Human Rights House-Voronezh were searched today by the police. Altogether eight plain-clothes police officers entered the premises, searching through all documents, but refusing to identify themselves and maintaining that they do have a search warrant for all organisations registered at this address (including commercial organisations and political groups). However, no search warrant was given to the representatives of the organisations.

The premises of the Human Rights House-Voronezh were searched today by the police. Altogether eight plain-clothes police officers entered the premises, searching through all documents, but refusing to identify themselves and maintaining that they do have a search warrant for all organisations registered at this address (including commercial organisations and political groups). However, no search warrant was given to the representatives of the organisations.

Human Rights House-Voronezh brings together a number of well-known human rights groups including international Youth Human Rights Movement, an NGO with Council of Europe participative status, Interregional Human Rights Group, regional representations of Memorial and “Golos”, Movement “Green Alternative” (GROZA) as well as Union of Professional Writers, Centre for Civic Initiatives, “Confederation of Free Labour” trade union organizations, Interregional Free Student Union, Lawyers for Labour Rights and other human rights groups. The building also hosts public reception office, regional representation of Transparency International-Russia, personal office of Andrey Yurov, member of the presidential Human Rights Council as well as cabinet of bar attorney Olga Gnezdilova (Human Rights coordinator of GROZA).

Victoria Gromova, director of the Youth Human Rights Movement, was removed from one of the offices, with physical force. The phone of another activist, Lubov’ Zakharova, (human rights news agency Article20 and GROZA) was taken, while she was commenting on the events. The plainclothed men, conducting search in the Human Rights House refused to identify themselves and demonstrate search order, have locked a number of activists in one of the rooms and refused to let in an attorney-at-law. Two private computers, two hard disks, USB-disks were confiscated from one of the offices before the unidentified plain-clothed law-enforcement officers left.

This is already the second raid of the day in Voronezh. Earlier in the morning police officers from the anti-extremism department and investigators from Moscow began searches at private homes of activists from Solidarnost movement and human rights defender Natalia Zvyagina, representative of the Interregional Human Rights Group and Transparency International. The decisions on the searches were issued by Basmanniy court of Moscow.
The official pretext was the investigation of the case of Sergei Usaltsov, Leonid Razvozzhaev and Konstantin Lebedev who are suspected in plotting mass disorder. (More on that case)

Updating detailed info (in Russian), pics and video

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