U.S. Frets Over NGO Checks
- The Moscow Times
- Mar. 24 2013 00:00
- Last edited 16:19
TheáU.S. Embassy ináMoscow has expressed "great concern" about reports that government inspectors have recently searched hundreds ofánongovernmental organizations, including prominent human rights groups, andáasked theáKremlin foráan explanation.
"We are following reports ofáthe unprecedented inspections ofáNGOs taking place across Russia with great concern. Theáembassy has shared its concerns with theágovernment andáasked foráclarity as toáthe purpose ofáthe inspections," theáembassy said ináTwitter messages late Thursday.
Prosecutors have said theásearches were aimed atábattling "extremism," but theáinvolvement ofáfire, tax, labor andáother inspectors helped create theáimpression that "the purpose ofáthe searches is toádiscover any kind ofáinfraction," aágroup ofácouncil members wrote.
They added that it was "essential" toáhold aáspecial meeting with representatives ofáthe prosecutor's office ináthe near future toádiscuss theámethods andáresults ofáthe searches.
Prominent human rights group Memorial andávote monitor Golos have been among hundreds ofáNGOs ináat least 10 regions toáface unannounced inspections inárecent weeks.
Inspectors conducted aásecond day ofásearches atáMemorial onáFriday andápromised aáthird visit this week, theáorganization's leader, Arseny Roginsky, told Interfax.
Theáprosecutor's office has said theáchecks were part ofáthe agency's plan foráthe first six months ofáthis year, but did not elaborate.