Tatarstan prosecutors against the human rights defenders from Agora

posted 8 Jun 2014, 07:35 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 8 Jun 2014, 08:54 ]
4 June 2014

Source: (info)
After an inspection of Agora Human Rights Association, prosecutors in Tatarstan have demanded that the organization register as a ‘foreign agent’. Human rights defenders from Agora report that ‘the prosecutors are disseminating false information."

The prosecutor’s office of Tatarstan claims that Agora receives foreign funding and is engaged in political activity on the territory of Russia.

According to the prosecutor’s office, the fact that Agora pursues political goals is shown by the speeches of Pavel Chikov who, the prosecutors stress, has on more than one occasion talked about the efforts of the organization to change political opinion in Russia regarding the law on foreign agents, Radio Svoboda reports.

The prosecutors’ statement, issued on Wednesday, also says that Agora continues to receive foreign funding. Pavel Chikov has been sent a notice requiring that Agora register as an NGO acting as a ‘foreign agent’.

"Agora is registered with the Ministry of Justice and Federal State Statistics Agency as a socially-oriented non-profit organization providing free legal assistance to non-profits,” Pavel Chikov, PhD in law and chair of Agora, stated.

“The prosecutor’s office is disseminating false information. Agora receives no monetary funds from foreign states and moreover has never received any from the US State Department. The only government funding it has is two Russian presidential grants received in 2013 for legal protection of those who have suffered from arbitrary actions of police, medical providers and the military, and also for the training of lawyers working on cases of human rights violations.

"The prosecutor’s office of Tatarstan has continuously inspected the Agora Association from April 2013 until June 2014. We assess this activity by the prosecutors as an unfounded interference in the work of a human rights organization and as revenge for the principled position on the protection of the rights and lawful interests of NGOs in Russia, that for a second year now are fighting off the attacks by prosecutors over the whole territory of Russia. 

"It was no accident that General Prosecutor Yury Chaika in July 2013 complained about the Agora Human Rights Association to Vladimir Putin.

"We officially declare that, other than the free provision of legal assistance, we have not been engaged in any political activity, are not engaged, and do not intend to engage in the future.

"The prosecutors believe that all Agora’s legal work is political, and they have focused particular attention on the appeal against the law on foreign agents taken to the Constitutional Court of Russia.

"The prosecutors don’t like the fact that Agora’s lawyers are active in the courts, taking up cases involving the unlawful actions of officials. 

A response to the prosecutor’s notice will be filed within the month," Agora Human Rights Association stressed.