A rights group in Russia announced Sunday that it was shutting down, citing fear of prosecution of its members and supporters after Russian authorities blocked its website for allegedly publishing content from an “undesirable” organization.pg slot
The Team 29 association of lawyers and journalists specializing in treason and espionage cases and freedom of information issues said Sunday that Russian authorities accused it of spreading content from a Czech non-governmental organization that had been declared “undesirable” in Russia.
The group's website was blocked Friday, even though it rejected the accusations, and its lawyers said they believed the government's next step could be to prosecute members and supporters.
“In these conditions, continuation of Team 29's activities creates direct and clear threat to the safety of a large number of people, and we can't ignore that risk,” the group said, adding that it would take down all of its online content. in order to avoid any risks and that its lawyers would continue representing their clients in a personal capacity.
Team 29 shutting down comes as pressure mounts on opposition supporters, independent journalists and human rights activists in Russia ahead of September's parliamentary election. The vote is widely seen as an important part of President Vladimir Putin's efforts to cement his rule ahead of the 2024 presidential election. The 68-year-old Russian leader, who has been in power for more than two decades, pushed through constitutional changes last year that would potentially allow him to hold onto power until 2036.