Police raid Russian environmental group

Police raided the office of Russian environmental group Baikal Environmental Wave arresting staff and confiscating computers.

Officers stormed the group’s Moscow office, without a warrant according to a spokeswoman who spoke to Edie after the raid.

Six officers from the local Department of Internal Affairs Consumer Affairs and Counter-Extremism units arrived to shut down the office, citing suspicion that the organization was using pirated software and violating fire safety regulations.

The documents were shown to the policemen, but they proceeded to confiscate staff computers and internal documents.

When staff blocked the door to prevent the officers from removing the computers without the applicable warrants, the environmental advocates were escorted to the prosecutor’s office under charges of obstructing justice.

Baikal Environmental Wave co-director Marina Rikhvanova was not in the office when the police arrived.

She said: “It is clear that the stated reason for investigating Baikal Environmental Wave was just an excuse.”

“The real reason for taking our computers is to paralyze our organization and keep us from protesting the January 18 decision to reopen the Baikalsk Pulp and Paper Mill.”

Luke Walsh

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