MOSCOW, June 27 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow prosecutors have launched a probe into Saturday’s eviction of a Russian human rights organization from its office, a Moscow deputy prosecutor said on Wednesday.
“The city’s prosecutor instructed to probe actions by Moscow Mayor’s office officials and by police officers,” Moscow First Deputy Prosecutor Alexander Kozlov said, adding that prosecutors would also look into the actions of human rights activists.
The For Human Rights NGO was evicted from its office in downtown Moscow in the early hours of Saturday morning, on the order of the city authorities who said the organization’s rental agreement expired in February. Lev Ponomaryov, a prominent human rights campaigner, described the incident as a “raider snatch,” and insisted the rent for the property had been paid up to the end of June.
Opposition Yabloko party leader and Moscow mayor candidate Sergei Mitrokhin, who was among those “led out” of the building during the eviction, said several people, including him, were injured. Russian ombudsman Vladimir Lukin said Moscow authorities and police acted in breach of the law. The police said they had only maintained public order during an eviction operation carried out by “employees of a private security concern.”
Ponomaryov said he complained to police about property damage and beating during the eviction.
“I filed a police report yesterday [on Tuesday]. … A group of investigators came, an investigator made photographs and a detailed description of how my property was damaged,” Ponomaryov told the Russian president’s human rights council at an emergency session.
“I was being dragged along the ground and kicked. I don’t know who did it. But a police lieutenant-colonel, who was there, saw it all,” he said. “At the moment, furniture is being illegally taken out of my building. Police and prosecutors, please, intervene into this matter.”