Memorial Human Rights Centre to appeal against fine for 'breaching law on NGOs'

posted 28 Sept 2015, 02:09 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 28 Sept 2015, 02:12 ]
24 September 2015

Source: (info
On 28 September 2015, Memorial Human Rights Centre (Moscow) is to appeal against a fine for allegedly "breaching the law on 'foreign agents'".

The hearing will begin at 3 p.m. in hall 14 of Tver district court in Moscow (address: Tsvetnoi Bulvar, 25А).

The NGO's interests will be presented by the lawyer Kirill Koroteev.

On 4 September 2015, Sergei Komlev, Justice of the Peace of section 423, found Memorial Human Rights Centre (Moscow) guilty of breaching Article 19.34 (Section 2) of the Administrative Offences Code since it had not put the ‘foreign agent’ label on two publications. In fact, these publications were materials issued by a different organization, International Memorial Society, which had put them on its website.

For two administrative offences, the judge fined Memorial Human Rights Centre (Moscow) the huge combined sum of 600 000 roubles [around £6000 – trans.].

In a special statement in November 2013 [English version here - trans.], the International Memorial Society stressed that "[...] The conception of the law ‘on foreign agents’ is not based on the principle of the rule of law. There is no problem that this law would resolve. The purposes of those who initiated this law were strictly based on considerations of political expediency, and the law’s language inherently lacks legal clarity. But the law on ‘foreign agents’ takes a quite different approach, and in practice introduces a presumption of guilt for an artificially defined group of civil society organizations [...]".

Russian NGOs have repeatedly expressed their opposition to the ‘foreign agent’ law and have appealed against it, including to the European Court of Human Rights. Human rights activists emphasize that the law has a blatantly discriminatory character and has extremely negative historical connotations.

Nonetheless, the discrimination against non-governmental, not-for-profit organisations in Russia is continuing.

Translated by Suzanne Eade Roberts