Russian police search offices of banned rights group Memorial, sparking outcry

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Russian police on Friday searched the offices of the country’s most prominent rights group Memorial, which was ordered to close late last year, sparking international outcry.

“Searches at Memorial are continuing at two locations,” the group wrote on the Telegram messenger app of the latest move against voices critical of the Kremlin after it invaded Ukraine last week.

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In two controversial rulings last year, Russia shuttered Memorial and its International structure, which chronicled Stalin-era purges and maintains extensive archives in Moscow.

Friday’s searches are the latest in a series of moves to assert ever tighter controls on non-state institutions after the Ukraine invasion.

Two prominent media outlets Dozhd and Ekho Moskvy closed earlier this week and lawmakers passed legislation on Friday to penalise the publication of fake information about the military with jail terms of up to 15 years.

The Russian independent news website Znak announced Friday that it was also closing.

“We are suspending our work due to the increasing number of restrictions that have recently appeared for the work of the media in Russia,” its editors said in a statement.

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