Saint Petersburg city court ruled against legal appeal by ADC “Memorial”, requiring it to register as a “foreign agent”

01.05.2014
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The judicial panel of the Saint Petersburg city court, composed of presiding judge Gavrilova and judges Salnikova and Marina, ruled to decline ADC “Memorial’s” appeal against the earlier decision of Leninsky district court, which had required ADC “Memorial” to get listed in the Ministry of Justice’s register of “NGOs performing functions of foreign agents”.

The ruling of Saint Petersburg city court stated that ADC “Memorial” fell under the legal definition criteria of “NGOs performing functions of foreign agents”, because it had received foreign financing (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency Sida was referred to as a source of funding) and was involved in political activities, namely preparing and disseminating the human rights report titled “Roma, Migrants, Activists: Victims of Police Abuse”

The court’s decision stressed that the aforementioned report contained recommendations on “changing or abolishing existing legislation, ratification of international legislative acts, adopting effective measures aimed at protection of foreign nationals (labor immigrants) from the arbitrary actions of state bodies and law enforcement agencies”, as well as recommendations to “bodies of international organizations and foreign intergovernmental organizations concerning the need to pursue Russia’s signing and ratification of legally binding agreements, including those concerning juvenile justice and expansion of the rights of LGBT community”. The court also found that this report “gives justification of the legality of politically motivated activities by political activists, including organization of mass riots with a political agenda. The court found this to be “political activity with the aim of influencing public opinion in order to change state policies”.

The court failed to detect any discrimination against ADC “Memorial” in the requirement to get the NGO registered as a “foreign agent”.

This ruling of Saint Petersburg city court will be further appealed by ADC “Memorial”.