29 October 2015
Source: Moscow Helsinki Group
The Ministry of Justice in Moscow has begun an unscheduled inspection of the Glasnost Defence Foundation, reports Kommersant newspaper. The Ministry of Justice has announced that the Foundation is being inspected under the Law on Non-Governmental Organisations. The inspection is due to finish on 5 November.
The Foundation's president, Aleksei Simonov, who is also a member of the Moscow Helsinki Group, told Kommersant that the Ministry of Justice's written justification for the inspection is worded in a way which suggests that the Glasnost Defence Foundation may be about to be declared a 'foreign agent'. In his view, it is "lawless" behaviour. Simonov stressed that the organisation has already supplied the Ministry with all the documentation requested.
Roman Zakharov, the director of the Foundation's St. Petersburg office, told the newspaper that the Glasnost Defence Foundation does not engage in "political activity". He underlined the fact that the Foundation works to protect the rights for journalists and the media generally, and also monitors violations of journalists’ rights.
"For the moment we haven't decided what to do. We'll look into various options. On the one hand, there are many respected organisations which have been declared 'foreign agents', but on the other hand, I'm not prepared to confirm that we will follow their example", said Boris Timoshenko, a member of Glasnost Defence Foundation's monitoring service.
Translated by Suzanne Eade Roberts