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Human rights group searched in Perm for ‘illegal logging’ after cleaning up Gulag memorial

Source: Pavel Chikov

Leading Russian human rights advocate Pavel Chikov has posted on his Telegram channel saying that law enforcement officials searched the Perm office of the Memorial human rights organization on October 31. The search was reportedly conducted by police, investigators, and officials from the local Anti-Extremism Center.

Local Memorial employees in Perm stand accused of illegal logging. In August, they cleared garbage and dead wood from a rural memorial to Lithuanian and Polish citizens who were killed in Soviet-era repressions. Memorial emphasized that regional governor Valery Klimov explicitly refused to allow government officials to collaborate in the cleanup.

Presidential Human Rights Council Chair Valery Fadeyev, whose recent appointment caused controversy amid broader turnover in the federal body, formally asked prosecutors to investigate the actions of the law enforcement officials who searched Memorial and its local leader in Perm. Fadeyev cast doubt on the legality of the searches and said the officers who carried them out had acted harshly.

An attorney for Memorial argued that it was odd for the officers to confiscate electronic equipment such as the organization’s computers when what they were supposedly looking for was evidence that employees had cut down trees.

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