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Russia court rejects government bid to shut rights NGO

[JURIST] A Moscow court ruled Monday that the Russian Human Rights Research Center [advocacy website], a major human rights umbrella group, will remain open despite increased government control over NGOs. The Russian Justice Ministry [official website, in Russian] had requested [JURIST report] that the court close down the Center based on claims that it had not filed reports on its activities in five years. After providing the court with three years of reports, Center head Valery Borshchev announced that the Basmanny District Court rejected the government's request to close the organization.

Russian NGOs have come under increased pressure since Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a controversial law [JURIST report] earlier this year granting tighter state control over non-governmental organizations. The law, previously approved by parliament [JURIST report], has been widely criticized [JURIST report] in Russia and abroad, but supporters defend the measure as necessary to prevent foreign governments and organizations from using NGOs to undermine Russia's security. The Moscow Times has more.

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