Russia now tries to cut CAT under ‘Foreign Agents’ Law

May 2, 2013

Frontline NEWlogos-1 condensed version - croppedreports that on 22 April 2013 the Committee Against Torture (CAT) is the next NGO received a letter of warning from the local Prosecutor’s Office. The letter alleges that CAT is violating the controversial new ‘Foreign Agents’ Law, which states that any Russian NGO involved in political activity and receiving foreign funding must register as a foreign agent.

CAT processes complaints about torture and inhuman or degrading treatment, carries out public investigations, represents the victims’ interests in court and before investigative bodies, and provides assistance with obtaining compensation.  The letter from the Prosecutor’s Office states that CAT receives funds from sources outside of Russia, information which is freely available on CAT’s website. The letter also states that CAT has taken part in certain public events, unidentified in the letter, which the authorities consider to be political. According to the authorities, therefore, CAT should have registered as a foreign agent.  After the passing of the ‘Foreign Agents’ Law on 21 November 2012, CAT and many other organisations declared that they would not register as foreign agents. CAT has stated that it is going to reply to the Prosecutor’s Office requesting an explanation regarding the public events which were interpreted as political activities. Front Line Defenders considers that the warning received by CAT is directly linked to its legitimate and peaceful human rights work and that it violates both domestic legislation and the international commitments of the Russian Federation to ensure freedom of association. For info on the use of the law to prosecute other NGOs see: http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/22513  and http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/22280.

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