MOSCOW, November 27 (RAPSI) – Russia’s Justice Ministry has refused to remove the Golos association in defense of voters’ rights from the foreign agent register, because it allegedly received foreign funding, Vedomosti newspaper writes on Thursday, citing the NGO’s lawyer, Ramilya Akhmetaliyeva.
Golos, an association of non-profit organizations In Defense of Voters’ Rights, was fined in 2013 for refusal to register as a foreign agent under the 2012 law according to which NGOs engaged in political activity that receive foreign funding are required to register as “foreign agents” with the Ministry of Justice.
In April, the Constitutional Court ruled that NGOs that refuse to accept foreign funding need not register as foreign agents, following which the Moscow City Court ruled that the penalty be rescinded from Golos in early September. However, two weeks later, the court ruled in favor of the Moscow City Prosecutor’s Office, which insisted that Golos must register as a foreign agent.
In September, Golos asked the Justice Ministry to remove it from the foreign agents register, but the ministry rejected the request, Vedomosti writes.
The ministry explained that the Moscow City Court found no evidence indicating that the NGO has refused to accept foreign funding and was not considering accepting it.
Golos has been monitoring elections in Russia since 2000.
In early November, the Justice Ministry also refused to remove another NGO from the foreign agents list, Soldiers’ Mothers of St. Petersburg, saying that the procedure to remove an NGO had not been stipulated in the law. The ministry announced in late November that the procedure was in the works.