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Rights Group of the Week: Public Verdict Foundation

posted 3 Oct 2016, 06:48 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 3 Oct 2016, 06:49 ]
On 27 September 2016 
Moscow City Court overturned a decision handed down by Tver district court in March this year to impose a 400,000‑rouble fine on Public Verdict Foundation for an alleged violation of the law on 'foreign agent' NGOs. As HRO.org reports, government officials had accused Public Verdict Foundation of 'disseminating information without any indication of its status as a "foreign agent” (Article 19.34, part 2, of the Code of Administrative Offences of the Russian Federation).' The case against the human rights activists has now been dismissed and the fine quashed. 

In 2015, Roskomnadzor had decided that the activities of Public Verdict Foundation contravened the Law on Foreign Agents for making publications without including notice as to the 'foreign agent' status of the NGO. The charges relatied to four news items on the website www.publicverdict.ruThe first news item concerned the upholding by the Supreme Court of Kabardino-Balkaria of a sentence handed down against a police officer for beating up underage suspects, while the second related to the selection of Natalya Taubina, director of Public Verdict Foundation, for the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award. The third news item referred to the organisation’s attempt to dispute its 'foreign agent' status in court, while the fourth concerned a resident of Perm demanding 3.5 million roubles in compensation from the state following the death of her spouse as a result of police torture. 

Public Verdict Foundation is a Moscow-based human rights organization set up in February 2004 with a mission to combat police abuse, to strengthen civilian oversight of law-enforcement bodies, and to facilitate reform of the law-enforcement system. Working in collaboration with regional partner organizations, the Foundation provides legal assistance to victims of police abuse, and supports victims through psychological rehabilitation. Public Verdict also conducts research, analysis, advocacy and training to advance the application of international human rights standards in police work. In 2013 Natalia Taubina, director of Public Verdict Foundation, was awarded the Alison Des Forges Award, marking the 'valor of individuals who put their lives on the line to protect the dignity and rights of others'. In 2015 Natalia Taubina was recipient of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award in recognition of 'her courageous work for seeking justice for the most serious human rights violations in Russia and initiates a partnership to support her efforts to promote and safeguard human rights.'

'Public Verdict Foundation wins quashing of dicriminatory fine,' HRO.org in English, 27 September 2016
'Public Verdict Foundation faces prosecution for refusing to label itself a "foreign agent",' HRO.org in English, 23 November 2015
Website of Public Verdict Foundation: http://publicverdict.ru/