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Prosecutors Fail to Brand NGO Foreign Agent

Published: July 10, 2013 (Issue # 1768)


Two St. Petersburg courts have refused to classify the Memorial Anti-Discrimination Center (ADC Memorial) as a foreign agent under recent legislation, the NGOs director Olga Abramenko said at a news conference on Wednesday, July 3.

On May 27, Judge Olga Glushanok dismissed charges against the NGO for not registering as a foreign agent and for not labeling a brochure containing ADC Memorials report for the UN Committee Against Torture as published by a foreign agent. The judge ruled that the charges were unsupported by the evidence at hand and returned the case to the prosecution for further investigation.

Later, prosecutors appealed to the Leninsky District Court, but their complaint was rejected on June 27.

On April 30, ADC Memorial became the citys first NGO to be prosecuted under the new foreign agents law, in force since November 21, 2012.

According to the law, NGOs that receive any funding from foreign sources and conduct political activities are required to register as foreign agents. Virtually all of Russias NGOs have refused to register, arguing that it would stigmatize them as acting on behalf of foreign governments. Human rights organizations across the world have criticized the law as an attempt by the Kremlin to stifle criticism under the guise of countering foreign influence.

In March and April, massive inspections of hundreds of NGOs across Russia were held. About 40 NGOs were inspected in St. Petersburg. According to Abramenko, a five-member team a prosecutor, two police officers as well as representatives of the Federal Service for Consumer Rights Protection (Rospotrebnadzor) and the Emergency Services Ministry arrived at ADC Memorials offices for inspection.

Although originally claiming the inspection was conducted under counter-extremism legislation, the team examined documentation, software licenses, fire safety measures and even whether or not the NGOs employees had recently had chest x-rays as part of healthcare requirements, Abramenko said. They then ordered that more than 3,000 pages of documents be copied and submitted to prosecutors.

Eventually, prosecutors used the ADC Memorial report on human rights submitted for review by the U.N. Committee Against Torture as evidence, branding it political activities. According to prosecutors, the report, called Roma, Migrants, Activists: Victims of Police Abuse, contained calls for confrontation with the authorities. The organization responded that the publication only recommended the respect of human rights and the rule of Russian and international law.

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Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Centers Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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