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Kasparov refuses to return to Russia

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Kasparov refuses to return to Russia

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Former chess champion and anti-Kremlin activist Gary Kasparov has declared he will not return to Russia. He fears he will be targeted in a wave of investigations into members of the opposition.

Currently in Geneva receiving a human rights prize; Kasparov said, via an audio recording on his website, that if he returned to Moscow, he had “serious doubts” that he would be able to leave again.

A prominent voice of opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kasparov, had previously been arrested for taking part in anti-government demonstrations.

His announcement comes as 12 protesters who took part in an anti-Putin rally in June 2012 are due in court. The defendants are charged with mass disorder and violence against the police and could face up to eight years in jail.