Semyon Simonov. Photo: Abbas Atilay (RFE/RL)

13 February 2017, 17:03

Sochi rights defender demands to justify treating SHRC as “foreign agent”

The Russia’s Ministry of Justice (MoJ) demands to fine the Krasnodar public organization "Southern Human Rights Centre" (SHRC) for its failure to get registered in the registry of “foreign agents”. The MoJ calls its activities political; however, fails to provide evidence that the Centre is funded from abroad, said Semyon Simonov, the Chairman of the Centre.

"We are a human rights organization, not engaged in politics. We received money from individuals, citizens of Russia. There was no funding from foreign sources. We have our bank account; we pay taxes and present reports. Our activities are open and transparent. When they came to our office with an unscheduled audit, I presented all the necessary documents. I wonder, why the MoJ thinks that we are funded from abroad," Mr Simonov said.

"Allegedly, we received money from Germany, Great Britain and other countries; but they presented no proofs, just oral assertions, which were regarded as evidence by the MoJ,” Alexander Popkov, a lawyer from the "Agora" Bar Association, who is involved in the case, told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.

"Since everything listed in the protocol is not political but human rights activities; and no documents about receipt of funds from abroad were presented, we asked the court on February 6 to make a decision and reject the claimant’s demands to fine the Centre. The judge, seeing that he is forced to reject the MoJ’s claim against the Centre, has obliged, on his own initiative, the MoJ to provide proofs in justification of the protocol," Mr Popkov said.

Full text of the article is available on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’.

Author: Svetlana Kravchenko; Source: CK correspondent

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