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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Court Upholds 'Foreign Agent' Order For Russian Monitor NGO

RIA Novosti

15:32 10/07/2013 MOSCOW, July 10 (RIA Novosti) – A Moscow court upheld Wednesday a previous order by prosecutors instructing Russian election-monitoring NGO Golos to register as a “foreign agent” in line with a controversial new law.

Wednesday's hearing followed an appeal by the NGO, disputing prosecutors’ claims that Golos, which has been active in publicizing violations in federal and regional elections in recent years, received funding from abroad, RAPSI legal news agency reported.

A new law that came in force back in November obliges Russian NGOs receiving foreign funding and involved in political activities to register as “foreign agents,” a term resonant with espionage and treason to most Russians.

Golos has repeatedly refused to register as a foreign agent. Its deputy director Grigory Melkonyants told the court that the organization had ceased accepting funding from foreign sources after the law was enacted, and it had cancelled some of its scheduled round table events which had been previously funded with foreign contributions.

The Moscow District Zamoskvoretsky Court sided with the prosecution, however, ruling it acted within the law.

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