MOSCOW – Russian law enforcement officers have forcibly evicted the head of one of Russia's leading human rights organizations and about a half dozen staff from their Moscow office.
Lev Ponomaryov, who heads the For Human Rights group, said in an interview on Radio Liberty on Saturday that he was beaten on the head and kidneys during the early morning raid.
Russia's human rights ombudsman says the group was evicted illegally from the city-owned property. The U.S. group Freedom House condemns the "violent assault" on the non-governmental organization and calls on the international community to "register its strong opposition to such thuggish tactics."
Hundreds of Russian non-governmental organizations have been raided in recent months as part of President Vladimir Putin's crackdown on dissent following unprecedented street protests last year.