Golos election monitoring NGO may be forced to shut down
MOSCOW, April 25 (RAPSI) - The Golos Association, which was fined on Thursday 300,000 rubles ($9,500) for violating the so-called foreign agent law may be forced to close down, Executive Director of the association Liliya Shibanova told RIA Novosti.
Golos was fined upon a Moscow court decision on Thursday. Shibanova was fined 100,000 rubles ($3,200) as well.
It is the first NGO to face a penalty based on a new federal law which requires any organization involved in political activities in Russia and financed abroad to file for 'foreign agent' status.
The Russian Ministry of Justice opened a criminal case against Golos earlier this month, despite a claim by Shibanova that the organization has not received any money from abroad since the law came into force.
At the hearing on Thursday a Golos representative filed a motion seeking the law to be checked for consistency by the Constitutional Court. The motion was rejected.
“We will do what we can to appeal (the ruling). It is obvious though, from the prosecution’s strategy, that it may be pointless to appeal. For now, I think we are facing serious trouble, possibly a closing of the organization,” Shibanova told RIA Novosti.
Whatever the trial’s outcome, the association will have to pay the fine.
The Golos Association of Non-Profit Organizations was founded in 2000 to protect the rights of Russian voters and promote the development of civil society, the association's website reads.