Yes, Kremlin closed office of Amnesty International in Moscow

Amnesty International Director in Europe and Central Asia John Dalhuisen expressed his concern that Moscow indeed wanted to disrupt the work of human rights organization in Russia. “Starting to look like a deliberate move to obstruct our work”, Mr. Dalhuisen Tweeted.

After 24 hours the Moscow municipality officials have not provided Amnesty employees any explanation for the sudden closure of their office.

Putin’s regime not only responded to Amnesty International with a silence but with a suspicious letter that was sent to… media. In the letter written in the hyper-bureaucratic language the Moscow municipality officials claimed that the rental contract with Amnesty International expired in… January of 2008. Since that time the international organization occupied the office illegally. The Moscow city authorities’s letter also claimed that the tenant did not pay the rent arrears and ignored warnings.

It turned out that the letter that was sent to journalist contained only misleading information.

Mr. Dalhuisen Tweeted a photo of the receipt of a rent paid on September 29th of 2016 by the organization in Russia.

Mr. Igor Kondratyenko from Russia’s Amnesty International called the Moscow municipality letter “an absolute lie”. He denied that the authorities sent to them any warnings or call to repay the debt. “It is interesting that we could not have our phone call answered for the whole day and to receive any answer.. but they sent such a letter to media in the evening”, Mr. Kondratyenko stated.

Yesterday Amnesty’s directors were also hoping that the closure of the Amnesty International office in Moscow is an incident. “It is too early to draw any conclusions”, Mr. Dalhuisen Tweeted shortly after Perth Herald Tribune called the sealment of the office in Moscow “a closure”.

(pht)