(GUARDIAN) — Mark Knopfler has cancelled two concerts in Russia owing to what he called a crackdown on human rights groups.

Russian prosecutors and tax officials searched the offices of Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Memorial, Russia’s oldest rights group, and other such organisations last month in what Kremlin critics said were raids aimed at stifling criticism of President Vladimir Putin.

“Given the crackdown by Russian authorities on groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, I have regretfully decided to cancel my upcoming concerts in Moscow and St Petersburg in June,” the former Dire Straits singer-guitarist wrote on his website.

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