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Court to consider complaints against NGO checks by prosecutors

July 10, 2013, 11:39 UTC+3
Among the NGOs that signed the document were Memorial, the Moscow Helsinki Group, and the movement For Human Rights
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MOSCOW, July 10 (Itar-Tass) - Moscow's Zamoskvorechye court on Wednesday will review complaints by two non-governmental organizations against the checks conducted by prosecutors within the framework of implementation of the law on "foreign agents."

Earlier, the hearing was postponed due to a prosecutor's unpreparedness.

In all, eight organizations lodged complaints in which they asked the court to acknowledge that prosecutors' checks and the demands that these organizations be registered as "foreign agents" were illegitimate. A majority of the organizations said they would also challenge the prosecutor's demand for presenting documents on NGO activities.

On Wednesday, the court will consider the complaints by Civil Assistance and the Golos association. On July 22, it will review the complaints by the Public Verdict foundation, while the complaints by For Human Rights, Memorial, Transparency International Russia, Hot Line and For Convicts' Rights are scheduled for review on July 31.

Earlier, Prosecutor General's Office spokeswoman Marina Gridneva told Itar-Tass that a check into compliance with legislation by public, religious and non-governmental organizations was being implemented according to the PGO's workschedule.

Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov linked with mass checks of NGOs that caused a public stir in Russia and abroad with amendments to the legislation and the fact that such checks had not been carried out for several years.

Earlier reports said 12 Russia-based non-governmental organizations were drawing complaints to the Constitutional Court and the European court of human rights, against the law on NGOs - "foreign agents."

Senior lawyer of the Memorial human rights center Furkat Tishayev denied that the NGO were considering a 5-million-dollar damages suit against Russia. "We won't claim this sum. The complaint is not about money, but restoration of violated rights," Tishayev underlined.

The complaint with the ECHR was lodged back in February. Among the NGOs that signed the document were Memorial, the Moscow Helsinki Group, and the movement For Human Rights.

"By adopting the law on NGOs - "foreign agents," the Russian Federation violated Articles 11, 10, and 18 of the European convention of human rights," Tishayev said. He noted that the ECHR had not yet begun to review the complaint.

The Russian Constitutional Court will review the complaint in late July - early August, deputy director of the Golos Association Grigory Melkonyants said.

Under the law adopted in the summer of 2012, a non-governmental organization performing the functions of "foreign agent" is a Russian NGO which receives funding or property from foreign states, international or foreign organizations, foreign citizens, persons without citizenship or their authorized representatives and/or Russian legal entities that receive funds or other property from the designated persons. Also, such an organization participates in politics in Russia, including in the interests of foreign sources.

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