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Russian Court Fines Sakharov Center Under 'Foreign Agent' Law

A Russian court has fined the Sakharov Center human rights organization for failing to register under a "foreign agent" law.

The fine by the Moscow court was for 300,000 rubles ($5,100) for the center named after Nobel Prize-winning Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov.

The organization said in a statement posted on its website on March 23 that it would appeal the decision.

The controversial law, signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2012, forces NGOs that receive foreign funding and carry out political activities to register as an "organization performing the functions of a foreign agent."

The Sakharov Center's director, Sergei Lukashevsky, said the court case was "absurd."

He added that the group had received foreign funding but denied that it did any political work.

Lukashevsky said its activities were "educational" and informed people while also promoting "public discussion."

Moscow's Sakharov Center was where thousands of people came to pay their final respects to slain Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov before he was buried earlier this month.

With reporting by AFP
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