NGO complaints about prosecutors' inspections to be considered in July
MOSCOW, June 28 (RAPSI) - In July the Zamoskvoretsky District Court in Moscow will consider several complaints filed by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) challenging the rights of prosecutors to conduct inspections, RAPSI reports from the courtroom on Friday.
The complaints filed by the For Human Rights movement, the Public Verdict foundation, Transparency International-Russia and other groups have been postponed because the prosecutor failed to show up in court.
On July 10, the Civic Assistance Committee's and GOLOS Association's complaints will be heard. The Public Verdict foundation's case was scheduled for July 22, and For Human Rights leader Lev Ponomaryov's, the Memorial Center's, and Transparency International's cases were scheduled for July 31.
Ponomaryov seeks to recognize that the prosecutors acted illegally in requesting the operation records of the three public associations that he leads - For Human Rights, the Hotline, and For Prisoners' Rights. In March, the prosecutor's office tried to inspect the groups' activity. Ponomaryov refused to give up the documents requested, claiming that he had already provided them earlier the same month.
The Russian office of the global anti-corruption group Transparency International received a warning letter on April 26, signed by Deputy Moscow City Prosecutor Vladimir Vedernikov. The letter warned Yelena Panfilova, the director of the TI Center for Anti-Corruption Research and Initiatives, that "Russian laws should not be violated and that the violation of the law entails liability."
Under a 2012 law on NGOs, such organizations that receive funding from abroad and engage in political activities are required to register as foreign agents, or face fines of up to 500,000 rubles ($16,000) for NGOs and up to 300,000 rubles ($10,000) for directors of NGOs.
Inspections of NGOs began in late March 2013 when the Justice Ministry said its goal was to ensure that the organizations' activities corresponded with the objectives of their charters and with Russian legislation.