Memorial NGO fined $9,000 for violating foreign agent law
MOSCOW, September 4 (RAPSI) – A magistrate court in Moscow has fined Memorial, a human rights NGO, 600,000 rubles (approximately $9,000) for violating the foreign agent law, RAPSI reported on Friday.
Memorial, which is one of Russia’s oldest and most respected human rights NGOs, was declared a foreign agent because it received foreign grants.
The court has concluded that Memorial has twice violated an article in the Administrative Offences Code on the distribution of materials without stating that they were published by a foreign-agent NGO. The court fined Memorial 300,000 rubles on each count.
The highest fine for violating the foreign agent law is 600,000 rubles.
A federal law adopted in November 2012 requires that all NGOs engaged in political activity and receiving foreign funding register as “foreign agents” or face fines.
In June 2013, the Justice Ministry was granted authority to classify NGOs as foreign agents at its own discretion and included a number of organizations in its register.
In February 2013, 11 Russian NGOs lodged a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) protesting against the law.
In November 2014, Putin endorsed Human Rights Commissioner Ella Pamfilova’s proposal to develop a procedure for taking NGOs off the list of foreign agents if they stop receiving funding from abroad.