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Court says Golos association is "foreign agent", fines it 300,000 roubles

April 25, 2013, 13:43 UTC+3

The Golos association refuses to be registered as "foreign agent" on principle, saying its activity is public, not political

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MOSCOW, April 25 (Itar-Tass) – A Moscow magistrate court on Friday fined the Golos association of non-profit organizations 300,000 roubles, saying its activities bore the hallmarks of "foreign agent."

In looking into the association's activity, the court exposed a violation of the law, which commits the non-profit organizations engaging in politics and receiving funding from foreign states to registration as "foreign agents."

The Golos association refuses to be registered as "foreign agent" on principle, saying its activity is public, not political. It also denies funding from abroad...

On Thursday, the court announced the substantial part of the ruling, which said nothing about the court's motivation. The complete text of the ruling will be ready within 10 days, whereupon Golos representatives may appeal it at the Presnya district court.

Golos lawyers called the court's ruling predictable, but said it was not based on actual circumstances on the case. "We'll appeal it as illegal," a Golos representative told reporters.

Aside from that, the Golos association intends to appeal to the Constitutional Court. "This law /on non-government organizations - eds Itar-Tass/ cannot be improved or rectified by amendments, because the very notion - "foreign agents" - cannot be applied to public organizations," Golos director, member of the presidential council for developing civil society and human rights Lilia Shibanova said in an interview to Itar-Tass.

Meanwhile, the court plans to begin review of a similar case against Shibanova within the next few days.

Earlier, it turned down Golos' petition to ask the Constitutional Court to clarify the term "political activity" in the law on non-governmental organizations.

The law does not contradict the Constitution, nor does it require clarification, the magistrate court said.

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