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The General Secretariat of Interpol has announced that Russia could not use Interpol to arrest William Browder, CEO and co-founder of Hermitage Capital, who was running a campaign to bring Russian officials responsible for the death of whistleblower Sergey Magnitsky to justice. A day earlier, Russia sent a search request to Interpol on Mr Browder.
The European Court of Human Rights has retracted its press release on the ruling in the case brought by the two former owners of the Yukos Oil Company, Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev, against the Russian state, NEWSru.com reported. Apparently, the initial press release stated that the charges against the two had “strong grounds,” whereas the Court ruling said nothing of the sort.
Mr Khodorkovsky’s lawyer, Karinna Moskalenko, said the Court was ready to concede that some political forces and state officials had reason to prosecute Mr Khodorkovsky and Mr Lebedev through Russian courts, and that the authorities might have had a “hidden agenda.” Ms Moskalenko said the Court did confirm that there was reason to suspect that the Khodorkovsky case was indeed politically motivated.
The Steering Committee of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum has issued a statement protesting the growing persecution of independent civil society organisations in Russia as a result of repressive legislation on “foreign agents.” The Forum cites the convictions meted out on two of its member organisations, the GOLOS Association and its regional partner, as well as the Kostroma Support Center for Civic Initiatives. The fourth NGO convicted as a “foreign agent” is the St Petersburg LGBT film festival, Side by Side. In all, the authorities have taken action against more than 40 NGOs, many of them members of the Forum.
Academic freedom is under attack in Russia. Authorities have now targeted the independent research institute, Levada Center. On 15 May 2013, the prosecutor’s office of Moscow’s Savelovskaya District issued a warning to the institute, citing violations of Russia’s draconian new law on non-profit organisations.