Created: 14.11.2005 16:10 MSK (GMT +3), Updated: 16:35 MSK, 6 hours 52 minutes ago
A court in Nizhny Novgorod has refused to satisfy a request from the Federal Registration Service to close down the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society, the Gazeta.ru website reported Monday.
The Federal Registration Service filed a complaint against the RCFS in spring, after the RCFS failed to provide the necessary documents on its financial activities during an unscheduled check. The documents in question were with the Tax Inspection Service at the time.
After the RCFS society provided the papers in June and no violations were found, the registration service demanded the Society change its name so that the word “Russian” was not used. The reason given was that the NGO only has offices in a few regions of Russia and not all over the country.
The International Helsinki Human Rights Group earlier accused the Russian authorities of the unjustified destruction of the NGO.
RCFS is a Nizhny Novgorod-based NGO, which distributes independent information about the human rights situation in the Caucasus, defends the interests of victims of war crimes and assists children and disabled people victimized by the conflict in Chechnya.
The NGO was founded in 2000 and has branch offices in Nazran and Grozny. It has repeatedly criticized the Russian authorities for severe human rights and humanitarian law violations in Chechnya and the surrounding areas.
The court did not provide an explanation for its decision today. But RCFS head Stanislav Dmitrievskii welcomed the ruling as a "truly independent decision."
RCFS still faces a $35,000 tax bill imposed by authorities who say the group's foreign grants amount to profit and should be taxed.
See also in this blog: RCFS Under Threat - II
RCFS Under Threat