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Правозащитный центр в зеркале СМИ

— 6 мая 2013 г. —

Prosecutor's Office: Human Rights Center “Memorial” Is a Foreign Agent

On 30 April 2013 HRC Memorial received a “communication” (see an unofficial translation) from the Moscow city prosecutor's office, according to which the “violation of the federal legislation,” which allegedly had been identified in course of the inspections of the organization, should be corrected within one month. This would mean the registration as a “foreign agent.”

The prosecutor's office for some reason mentions the organization's constitutional aims: publicizing and disseminating reliable information on material violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms, exposing the truth about the crimes of totalitarian regimes, terroristic methods of controlling society, conducting and supporting research activities aimed at studying mass human rights violations, promoting the protection of persons suffering politically motivated persecution or unlawful repression, and others. It is incomprehensible, in which of these constitutional aims the prosecutor's office has spotted “violations.”

The inspectors payed special attention to the programs, which are aimed at the monitoring of politically motivated administrative detentions and penal repressions. The phrase “the Russian legislation doesn't provide for any fallible actions based on political motivation” has become a present outcry of the prosecutor's office here. If it's not provided for by law, this means it doesn't exist.

Most of all the communication says about the project “OVD-Info” (http://www.ovdinfo.org/). Founded in December 2011 by a group of journalists, it deals with the monitoring of political detentions on public events. Hundreds of Russian media are bearing on information from “OVD-Info” in their publications. the Chapters on freedom of assembly in Russia in reports of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Moscow Helsinki Group, the organization AGORA, and others are based on the analytical materials by “OVD-Info.” “OVD-Info” had developed as an informal civic association and since 1 February 2013 has been cooperating with HRC Memorial, carrying out the project about the monitoring of detentions in Russian regions. From the beginning it has been pointing out its apolitical attitude and has neither organized, nor participated in protest campaigns. The prosecutor's office's allegation, that the work of “OVD-Info” in the framework of HRC Memorial is allegedly connected to the
“carrying out of public events and other political activities” is not corresponding to reality.

The “communication” of the prosecutor's office equally contains other unfounded “evidence” of alleged “political activities.” HRC Memorial is not planning to declare itself as a “foreign agent” and will appeal the “communication” after thorough examination.
Earlier the prosecution authorities had already issued warnings, addressed to two regional Memorial organizations: the Ryazan historical-educational human rights society “Memorial” and the Komi Human Rights Commission “Memorial.”

In the warning addressed to the Ryazan Memorial the prosecutor's office points out, that, according to the organization's constitution, its basic aims are “the affirmation of human rights in the state's practice and public life through measures, which are directed at the public conscience for building a democratic state under the rule of law in Russia and the development of a civil society.” For the achievement of these objectives the organization can “carry out rallies, gatherings, meetings, demonstrations, etc in accordance with the legislation.”

The deputy regional prosecutor told the Komi Human Rights Commission “Memorial”, that, according to their constitution, one of its aims is the “participation in working out draft laws and decisions of the public authorities, formulating of proposals and recommendations for the public authorities in the fields of the protection of civil rights and freedoms, battle with corruption and the abuse of power in the administration.” Furthermore the prosecutor's office pointed out, that “in 2011-2012 the organization's members participated in public and political actions, including protest campaigns, in order to impact the adoption of respective decisions by the state authorities”.

This gave the the prosecutor's office the chance to claim, that there is an alleged “factually declared possibility of participation in political activities” in the organizations' constitutions. As far as both organizations are receiving fundings from abroad and didn't register in the “list of non-governmental organizations, functioning as foreign agents”, the regional prosecutor's offices warned them about the inadmissibility of violation of law. It is hardly possible to understand from the warnings' texts, what exactly the prosecution authorities demand from these NGOs.













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