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pampango Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-02-11 11:10 AM
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Kremlin accused of trying to gag election monitors
Source: BBC

Human rights activists have accused the Russian authorities of trying to gag the country's main non-government election watchdog days before polls. Moscow city prosecutors opened an investigation into Golos after it listed thousands of complaints about election campaigning on its website. Golos is accused of breaking pre-election reporting restrictions.

The US-based campaign group Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Golos was the victim of a smear campaign. "They are trying to shut it up because Golos is the only large-scale, serious organisation that is exposing election violations," Tanya Lokshina of HRW's Moscow branch told Reuters news agency.

The outgoing parliament, or State Duma, is dominated by his party, United Russia, with seats also held by the Communist Party, the nationalist Liberal Democrats and the social-democratic Fair Russia. Under Russian electoral law, media broadcasting to Russian territory are not allowed to report the results of opinion polls in the five days leading to the election.

Golos (which means "voice" in English) is a widely respected election watchdog funded by the EU and US. It provides training for observers and runs a website compiling complaints of voting violations. As of Friday afternoon, it had recorded nearly 5,000 complaints related to Sunday's election, many involving United Russia. According to the court documents, Golos is accused of having reported "election-related opinion polls and research" between Tuesday and Wednesday.

Communist Party activists in Moscow have demonstrated against vote-rigging

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