ICC NOTE: Amnesty International, a well-known human rights watchdog, was evicted from their Moscow based offices on November 2nd with no explanation. Mikhail Fedotov, head of the Russian Human Rights Council, had a meeting with President Vladimir Putin the following day resulting in Amnesty’s offices once again opened for business. The action was likely due to a substantial backlash from the human rights community as well as other foreign entities. Russia has a law in place where if non-governmental organizations receive funding from foreign entities, they can be labeled as “foreign agents” and risk deportation from the country.
11/4/2016 Russia (Reuters) – Human rights group Amnesty International can return to the Moscow office it was evicted from this week, a Kremlin human rights adviser said on Thursday after discussing the matter with President Vladimir Putin.
Amnesty has been a vocal critic of Russia over its bombing campaign in Syria and had said it believed the eviction might be part of an official crackdown on civil society groups.
Amnesty staff had turned up at their office in central Moscow on Wednesday morning to find the locks had been changed and the power cut off. The Moscow city government, from which Amnesty leases the premises, said it was owed rent, but the group said payments were up to date.
Mikhail Fedotov, head of the Russian Human Rights Council which formally reports to the Kremlin, told Reuters he had met Putin and discussed the matter.
“The lease has been restored completely. They (Amnesty) will be able to return to the office in the nearest future. Putin was informed of this,” Fedotov said.