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Russia drops lawsuit against soldiers rights NGO

[JURIST] A lawsuit filed by the Russian Justice Ministry's Federal Registration Service [official website, in Russian] against the Union of Soldiers' Mothers Committees [advocacy website], a local NGO representing the rights of soldiers, was dropped Wednesday after the group publicized the fact that they had received a summons to appear in court. The lawsuit was initially filed based on allegations that for the past seven years the committee had failed to comply with a law requiring organizations to notify authorities of its existence. Officials admitted that the NGO had provided reports for five of the seven years, and announced they were willing to overlook the two years for which reports had not been filed.

Earlier this week, a controversial law restricting NGO activity took effect [JURIST report]. Under the new law, NGO officials must file detailed reports of their expenses and activities. Rules are strict for local NGOs and even more stringent for foreign NGOs. Authorities have denied that the lawsuit against Soldiers' Mothers was related to the new law. The group made headlines earlier this year by bringing attention to the problem of conscript abuse in the Russian military [JURIST report]. UPI has more. The Moscow Times has local coverage [subscription required].

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