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Russia’s Justice Ministry against allowing NGO-foreign agents to control of penitentiaries

December 19, 2013, 12:53 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, December 19. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s ministry of justice is against allowing non-governmental organisations - “foreign agents” - to public control over penitentiaries, Deputy Minister of Justice Dmitry Aristov told the Human Rights Council on Thursday.

“We suggest adding reasons not to allow public unions to nominate candidatures for the supervising commissions, and to include there the non-governmental organisations, which are acting as foreign agents,” he said.

“I mean exclusively those involved in political activities, and who are on the registrar,” the deputy minister said, adding “public unions, which receive foreign financing and which are involved in charity activities, may become members of the supervising commissions.”

“As we adopted the law on NGOs - foreign agents, we confirmed their activities would not be affected, that it was a way of informing the society,” a member of the human rights commission Andrei Babushkin said. “Do the changes comply with the law’s concept?”

In response, Aristov said the suggestions “does not change the initial attitude” from the justice ministry, which, as an executive body, registers NGOs-foreign agents. “The state has bodies, where any political activities are forbidden. Those are not only the penitentiaries, but the military divisions, too,” he said.

“Thus, we believe, organisations which aim at political activities, cannot work at those structures.”

The law, adopted in summer of 2012, reads a non-governmental organisation, which acts as a “foreign agent,” is a Russian non-governmental organisation, which receives monetary and other assets from foreign states, international and foreign organisations, foreign citizens, stateless persons or their representatives and/or from Russian companies, which receive monetary or other assets from the stated above sources, and which participate, including in the interests of foreign sources, in political activities in the territory of Russia.

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