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Many organizations have been raided to check compliance with a new law that requires all NGOs that receive foreign funding and engage in vaguely defined political activities to register as foreign agents, a term that carries Cold War connotations of spying. Putin has accused the U.S. State Department of funding Russian NGOs with the aim of undermining his government.
Lev Ponomaryov, 72, who heads For Human Rights, said he was beaten all over his body when security forces stormed the building at around 2 a.m. and dragged him out. Dozens of riot police had raided the office on Friday and ordered employees to leave, but they had refused.
Amnesty International said it sent a representative to Ponomaryov's office on Friday to observe the raid.
"In Russia, we have witnessed how authorities are using every trick in the box to stop human rights activists criticizing their policies," the group said in a statement. "The attempt to evict For Human Rights from publicly owned offices seems to be yet another attempt to block their important human rights work."