Justice Ministry may ask court to shut down voters' rights association
ST. PETERSBURG, May 15 (RAPSI) - The Justice Ministry will ask the courts to shut down the Golos voters' rights association if it fails to register as a foreign agent by an approved deadline, Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.
He said that the court had fined Golos, which is evidence of the validity of the ministry's complaints. "The next step may be the closure of the organization by a court decision if it refuses to act in compliance with legislation," Konovalov said.
On April 25, the Golos Association was fined 300,000 rubles ($9,500) for violating the so-called foreign agent law. Golos Executive Director Liliya Shibanova was fined 100,000 rubles ($3,200).
The highly controversial law on NGOs, which took effect in November 2012, requires politically active NGOs with foreign funding sources to register as "foreign agents." Once registered, these NGOs face heightened scrutiny.
Inspections of NGOs began in late March 2013 when the Justice Ministry said its goal is to check if their activities correspond with charter goals and legislation.
Golos was the first NGO to be declared a foreign agent.
A case has been opened against Golos for failing to register as a foreign agent. On May 13, the Justice Ministry opened a new administrative offense case against Golos.
"According to the Federal Financial Monitoring Service, Golos, an organization which conducts political activity in Russia, received over 4 million rubles (around $130,000) of funds from foreign sources in December 2012," the Justice Ministry said in a statement on Monday.
By accepting foreign funds, the association "is acting as a foreign agent," the Justice Ministry concluded, adding that Golos has not yet submitted an application for foreign agent status.