13 Feb 2019 19:36

Ponomaryov tells Interfax why For Human Rights was added to foreign agent NPO list

MOSCOW. Feb 13 (Interfax) - The inclusion of For Human Rights to the list of non-profit organizations (NPOs) acting as foreign agents may be linked to a grant which the United Nations provided to its associate, the organization's head Lev Ponomaryov said.

"The movement For Human Rights has not received foreign funding, and neither did the foundation For the Protection of the Prisoners' Rights, but I have the NPO Hotline, which officially received a grant from the UN Committee against Torture. I did not conceal that," Ponomaryov told Interfax on Wednesday.

The money obtained under the grant was spent on lawyers, who went to penitentiaries after receiving reports of torture from them, he said.

The Justice Ministry said in its documents that a member of the movement's council had received money as part of another project organized by the Council of Europe and traveled to regions to train members of public monitoring commissions before attending a congress of For Human Rights at her own expense, and that "the movement thus indirectly received foreign funding," Ponomaryov said.

He said he believes this decision is "biased" and related to his recent arrest, as well as the refusal to provide a presidential grant to the movement.

"I hope that we will still continue working. I have not discussed it with lawyers, but we will probably not appeal the decision. The law is written in such a way that it's pointless to fight in this case," Ponomaryov said.

The Justice Ministry said earlier on Wednesday that For Human Rights had been added to the list of foreign agents following an inspection.