ADC “Memorial” appealed against civil court ruling

On January 17, 2014 ADC “Memorial” made an appeal against earlier ruling of Leninsky district court of Saint Petersburg dated December 12, 2013. This court ruling was in favour of the procurator’s appeal in the interests of an undefined group of persons against the Charitable private association Antidiscrimination Centre “Memorial” concerning recognition of its activities as those of a non-commercial organization carrying out the functions of a foreign agent, obligation ADC “Memorial” to get registered in the Ministry of Justice’s list of non-commercial organizations carrying out the functions of a foreign agent and obligation to register the logo of the organization (letters A, D, C and a vertical sign “Memorial”).

ADC “Memorial” believes this decision of the court to be illegal and ungrounded, while the court has erroneously defined the legally relevant circumstances related to the case, has incorrectly interpreted the Russian laws and international legal norms (including Articles 6, 10, 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms) and Article 29 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation. Besides that, the statements of the court are in contradiction with the earlier ruling of Leninsky district court of Saint Petersburg dated October 7, 2013, concerning illegality of the procurator’s check of ADC “Memorial”, which was later confirmed by the deputy chairman of Saint Petersburg city court dated December 16, 2013.

The court has ruled that all of the activities of ADC “Memorial” should be considered as activities of an NGO carrying out functions of a foreign agent, while in fact the only pretext and basis for this decision was the sole publication “Roma people, migrants, activists: victims of police arbitrariness”. This report had been prepared, published and distributed at the session of the UN Committee Against Torture in Geneva on November 18, 2012, as part of the report of NGOs, which could be done in accordance with the rules of the UN Human Rights Committee. The procurator’s office and the court that made the ruling had failed to find any other activities which had been aimed at influencing public opinion in order to interfere with the decisions of authorities or change of state policies.

The court has also failed to take into account that publication and presentation of the report to the UN Committee Against Torture had taken place before the new law on NGOs was put in effect, thus ADC “Memorial” could not be called to responsibility in accordance with this law on “foreign agents”.

Activities of an NGO aimed at defending citizens, protecting their rights and freedoms, as well as the rights and freedoms of vulnerable groups, could not be considered “political activities” in the sense of Article 6, Section 2 of the new law on non-commercial organizations.

The court’s decision was made in violation of rights and fundamental freedoms outlined in the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Introduction of any legal restrictions, as well as the obligation to get registered in a special list of NGOs performing functions of a foreign agent for preparation and distribution of a report is de facto persecution for contacts with the UN Committee and provision of information to the latter.

Documents concerning a civil court case against ADC “Memorial” (in Russian)