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Golos Association Persecution Untimely - Presidential Council Head

File Photo of Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box
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MOSCOW. Dec 2 (Interfax) - The Prosecutor's Office and a number of State Duma members are not doing the right thing by paying such an immense amount of attention to the Golos non-governmental organization (NGO), which specializes in election monitoring, Russian Presidential Human Rights Council Chairman Mikhail Fedotov told Interfax on Friday. "It is not the best choice to persecute an election monitoring organization during an electoral period. It only serves to make our image worse," he said.

"I may as well admit that violations could accompany the functioning of any organization, but I do not think it is right to act in such a hurry," Fedotov said, commenting on a court summons issued to Golos representatives.

"I would like to remind you of the Russian Constitutional Court's legal position, which ruled in 2003 that freedom of information must be ensured at elections," he said.

"All of us are interested in having honest and legal elections. It means that we should only welcome observers' work in order to prevent any doubts about election results," Fedotov said.

Leading Russian and international human rights organizations, including the Moscow Helsinki Group, Memorial and Human Rights Watch, voiced their support for Golos.

It was reported earlier that Moscow's Meshchanskaya Inter-District Prosecutor's Office opened an administrative case against Golos and issued a warning to the association's head, Lilia Shibanova.

Earlier, the Russian Prosecutor General's Office received a collective parliamentary request asking to check whether Golos is operating in gross violation of the election laws. The request was sent by Duma deputies

Andrei Nazarov (United Russia), Maxim Rokhmistrov (Liberal Democratic Party) and Anton Belyakov (A Just Russia).

Golos has monitored elections in Russia since 2000. In 2011, the association and Gazeta.ru set up a website called the Map of Violations at Elections, where citizens can request information about violations during the election campaign.


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