Aleksey Sokolov: «Our «fault» is only that we challenge unlawful actions of authorities».
Ministry of Justice has included Yekaterinburg human rights organization «Legal Basis» in the list of foreign agents. This decision has been made on the basis of inspection conducted by the Kirovskaya regional prosecutor office,-says report of the Svoboda Radio -Denis Porubov.
Association «Legal Basis» deals with convicts’ rights protection. Association is financed by All-Russian civic movement «Civil dignity» and National Endowment for Democracy (NED), USA.
This fact with list didn’t surprise defenders. Director of «Legal Basis» Aleksey Sokolov told our reporter:
-Certainly, we expected it, we had been inspected many times. In 2013 we challenged warning not to violate law on concerning foreign agents. We could prove that this warning was not legal. That time they were searching in our work traces of foreign agents; they didn’t find. Over the past six months they have inspected us constantly.
On the basis of inspections in the end of May 2015 Prosecutor office passed on recommendation to correct a violation which says «…organization does activities to change national policy in regard to human rights and freedoms, in particular of people in the correctional facilities with help of courts and publicity».
— It means that we are guilty because we challenge unlawful actions of authorities through trials. Basically, court system is also foreign agent if it satisfies our motions?- comments Aleksey Sokolov.
Association «Legal Basis» is determined to challenge results of Prosecutor’s inspection and get elimination from this list. Aleksey thinks that if trial is conducted according to law and not to «phone calls from authorities», they will save organization. If it happens organization will stay in this list, it means it comes to end, because organization is not able to pay fine.
-Organizations which really work are being demolished. That way, authorities throw away such organization not to mess with them,- says Sokolov.
Defenders from «Legal Basis» stand up for rights of convicts not only through courts. Lawyer of organization Larisa Zakharova took part in a hunger strike of human rights defenders in 2014. Defenders launched a strike to draw attention to tortures, beatings and humiliations in penitentiary-63 in Ivdel. After hunger strike officers began inspecting facilities but according to the Federal Service for Execution of punishment these facts were not confirmed.