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Lisbon mayor criticized for sharing Russian dissidents' data

Last Updated Jun 11, 2021 at 9:14 am MDT

MADRID (AP) — Lisbon’s mayor has come under fire after admitting that municipal employees shared with Russian officials personal details of at least three Lisbon-based dissidents who organized protests in support of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

The municipal government obtained the personal data when the Russian activists applied to hold a rally in the Portuguese capital against Navalny’s arrest in January, one of the three, Ksenia Ashrafullina, told The Associated Press Friday.

City ordinances require organizers to inform authorities about upcoming protests.

Ashrafullina, who also holds Portuguese nationality, said that names, ID numbers, home addresses and telephone numbers were submitted so that police could contact them if anything went wrong during the event.

But the 36-year-old said that email exchanges in the run-up to the protest that she was shown revealed that municipal employees had forwarded the data to Russian diplomats in Lisbon and Russia’s Foreign Ministry in Moscow.

Lisbon Mayor Fernando Medina on Thursday apologized for what he said was an “unfortunate mistake” that he blamed on the municipal chamber’s workers.

Medina’s political opposition has called for the mayor to resign.

In response to a request for comment, the Russian Foreign Ministry pointed to a statement by the Russian embassy in Portugal, which blamed the controversy on attention-seeking activists.

Aritz Parra, The Associated Press