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Khodorkovsky's NGO Employees Subjected to Home-Searches

Mikhail Khodorkovsky

Investigative Committee officers have searched the homes of employees of Mikhail Khodorkovsky's pro-democracy Open Russia initiative, and of his press secretary Kulle Pispanen, the organization's website reported Tuesday.

The searches were conducted by the committee's Central Investigation Department officers, Open Russia said.

At least seven Open Russia employees were subjected to home-searches Tuesday morning in Moscow and St. Petersburg, said Pavel Chikov, head of the Kazan-based human rights group Agora, on his Facebook page Tuesday.

The searches were performed as a part of an inquiry into Khodorkovsky's Yukos oil company activities started in 2003. The case is referred to as the “maternal” Yukos criminal investigation, with all other cases against company stemming from it.

Exiled former Yukos chief Khodorkovsky spent more than a decade behind bars after being stripped of his oil company assets in what was widely seen as politically motivated case. He was pardoned by President Vladimir Putin in December 2013.

On Dec. 11, he was charged with masterminding two murders in the 1990s, the Interfax news agency reported.

Since his release, Khodorkovsky has been a vocal critic of the Kremlin. Two days before the charges were brought, he said that a “revolution” in Russia was inevitable and could happen as soon as 2018.

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