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HRW: Russia silences critics before Olympic Games

August 7, 2013

MOSCOW (AP) — Human Rights Watch says Russian authorities have harassed activists and journalists reporting on rights violations and that is marring preparations for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.

The group said Wednesday it has documented government efforts to intimidate those who have spoken out against abuse of migrant workers, the impact of the Olympics-related construction on the environment and the health of residents, and unfair compensation for people forcibly evicted from their homes.

HRW said it also has documented how authorities harassed and pursued criminal charges against journalists in apparent retaliation for their critical reporting.

Jane Buchanan, associate Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said silencing activists and journalists “only further tarnishes the image of the Olympics.”

The Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee had no immediate comment.

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