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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Court Backs Police Raid on NGO

A Moscow court ruled Thursday that Interior Ministry officers were justified in raiding the offices of the nongovernmental organization Educated Media Foundation and confiscating computers and documents, a lawyer for the NGO said.

The Golovinsky District Court said investigators were correct to confiscate the documents during the April raid because they had to find out why the NGO's head, Manana Aslamazian, was carrying 9,550 euros ($12,400) in undeclared currency when she arrived at Sheremetyevo Airport in January, Aslamazian's lawyer, Viktor Parshutkin, said. Any amount worth more than $10,000 must be declared. Parshutkin said he would appeal the ruling.

Aslamazian was charged with smuggling -- which carries a maximum five-year prison sentence -- on June 15, though Parshutkin said he has received no formal notification.

The Educated Media Foundation is a U.S.-funded NGO that trains journalists. It has all but shut down its operations in Russia, and Aslamazian said this week she would not return until the case is dropped.

Parshutkin called the smuggling charge "rubbish," and Aslamazian has said it is linked to tightening state control over NGO activities in the country.