Ministry of Justice refuses to find Committee Against Torture a ‘foreign agent’

27 May 2013 

Source: (info)
The Ministry of Justice of Russia in the course of an inspection did not find evidence that the Nizhny Novgorod human rights organization Committee Against Torture was a ‘foreign agent’. The Committee Against Torture has written about this on its Facebook page. Earlier, reports, Nizhny Novgorod Prosecutor’s Office had ruled that the Committee Against Torture should register with the Ministry of Justice as a foreign agent.

The report on the inspection of the Committee Against Torture, conducted in Nizhny Novgorod from 29 April to 17 May, states that the expenses and activities of the organization are in accordance with its charter and with Russian legislation. Moreover, during the inspection a number of violations were discovered such as a failure to inform the appropriate authority about a change in address of one of the offices, Interfax reports. The human rights defenders conceded that this was the case.

The Committee Against Torture received a warning in April 2013 which stated that the organization was in receipt of foreign funding and some of the activities in which the Committee had taken part, could be considered to be political in nature.

According to the amendments to the law on non-profit organizations, NGOs which receive foreign funding and are engaged in political activity in Russia must apply to be registered with the Ministry of Justice and label themselves as ‘foreign agents’. The law has been fiercely criticized by human rights defenders and civil society organizations.