Russia blocks website of prominent human rights observer OVD-Info


Russia has blocked the website of OVD-Info, a well-known human rights observer who follows political persecution, the group said on Saturday, as the authorities take action against dissenting opinions.

Russia’s Supreme Court is considering closing the top-right group Memorial, which is working with the Monitor.

OVD-Info, which tracks opposition protests and also provides legal support to victims of political persecution, said Roskomnadzor’s media regulator blocked its website earlier this week.

“At the moment we have not received any notification and we do not know the reason for the ban,” tweeted the group.

A register of blocked websites in Roskomnadzor showed that a court in the Moscow region issued a ruling on December 20 to “restrict” access to the website.

The website was inaccessible to AFP journalists in Russia on Saturday.

There was historic crackdown on Russia’s opposition and independent media that year, beginning with the arrest of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

In September, the Justice Department added OVD-Info to its growing list of “foreign agents,” a term with overtones from the Soviet era, with the group calling the move an “act of political pressure”.

Memorial fears it could close by the end of the year.

Prosecutors accuse the human rights group of violating the “Foreign Agents” law and justifying terrorism by publishing lists of political prisoners containing banned figures such as Navalny.

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