MOSCOW, June 27 (RAPSI) - The Justice Ministry has suspended the operations of the GOLOS Association for six months for refusing to register as a foreign agent, the ministry said.

On Tuesday, the ministry's Moscow Department decided to terminate the NGO's operations over its "failure to apply to register as a non-profit organization acting as a foreign agent."

Its operations have been terminated for six months until December 25.

"Under the federal law on NGOs, an organization acting as a foreign agent whose operations have been suspended also faces the suspension of its rights as a founder of mass media sources. It is also banned from holding rallies or public events and from using bank accounts except for payments pertaining to economic operation, work compensation, damages, taxes, duties and fines," the statement reads.

According to its website, the GOLOS  Association was founded in 2000 with the aims of protecting the rights of Russian voters and promoting the development of civil society.

On April 25, GOLOS was fined 300,000 rubles ($9,500) for violating the so-called foreign agent law. Executive Director Liliya Shibanova was fined 100,000 rubles ($3,200) as well.

GOLOS is the first NGO to be penalized under the new federal law approved by President Vladimir Putin last year which requires any organization involved in political activities in Russia and financed from abroad to file for foreign agent status. Violation of the law is punishable by fines of up to 500,000 rubles ($16,000) for NGOs and up to 300,000 rubles ($10,000) for NGO directors.