Court orders Russian rights group to register as 'foreign agent'

23rd May 2014, Comments 0 comments

A Moscow court on Friday ordered a prominent Russian human rights group to register itself as a "foreign agent" under a controversial new law.

Memorial, which chronicles the victims of Stalin-era repression in its world-respected archive and also speaks out on contemporary rights issues, had been appealing against an order that it had to register as a foreign-sponsored body.

Under a law passed last year, NGOs that carry out political activities and receive international funding must register and name themselves as "foreign agents" in all their documents.

A hearing at Moscow's Zamoskvoretsky district court on Friday heard Memorial's appeal against the April 2013 order.

But according to a statement sent to AFP by the group, judge Yana Shemyakina rejected the appeal.

Along with many other NGOS, Memorial has refused to register as a "foreign agent", a term that carries connotations of treachery and espionage.

But the group, which also works with refugees, said it would appeal.

"First of all, we do not intend to register as a foreign agent. Secondly, we continue to work," the chairman of Memorial's board, Alexander Cherkasov, said in a statement.

"We will appeal the Zamoskvoretsky court decision at a higher level. Our complaint is already filed at the European Court of Human Rights. Life goes on," he said.

© 2014 AFP

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