Hugh Williamson: "From the start, it seemed clear that the true target of the 'undesirables' law would be Russian groups and citizens"

posted 4 Dec 2017, 08:47 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 4 Dec 2017, 08:52 ]
“From the start, it seemed clear that the true target of the “undesirables” law would be Russian groups and citizens. Now, we’re seeing that the authorities are using the law, quite absurdly, to penalize Russian groups for supposed involvement with the ‘undesirables.’ [...] 
The authorities are casting a wide net, penalizing groups that aren’t even critical of the authorities for something they could not imagine would constitute an offense under a draconian and deliberately vague law, and for actions that obviously have nothing to do with Russian state security. It is not too late for the government to pull back from this brink of absurdity, repeal the law, and stop targeting Russian groups and citizens.

Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch: "(Berlin) – The Russian government has intensified enforcement of the country’s repressive legislation on foreign “undesirable” organizations to intimidate Russian nationals and groups, Human Rights Watch said today. Officials are penalizing Russian groups for hyperlinks on their websites to materials on the websites of “undesirable” foreign organizations. The law on “undesirable organizations,” adopted in 2015, authorizes the prosecutor general’s office to ban from the country any foreign or international organization that it perceives as harming Russia’s security, and sets out penalties for Russian citizens and organizations for unspecified involvement with them. Punishments range from administrative fines to imprisonment."

Source: "Russia: Punished Over Hyperlinks. Russians Targeted for Links to Foreign ‘Undesirable’ Groups," Human Rights Watch, 30 November 2017