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Russian Rights Center Fined Under 'Foreign Agent' Law

A Moscow court has fined a prominent Russian human rights advocacy group for refusal to register as a "foreign agent" under a law Kremlin critics say is putting a chill on civil society.

The court ruled on March 18 that the organization For Human Rights violated the law and must pay a 300,000-ruble ($4,850) fine.

The 2012 legislation requires all nongovernmental organizations that receiving money from abroad and are deemed to engage in political activity to register as foreign agents.

The leader of For Human Rights, veteran rights activist Lev Ponomaryov, said he will appeal the ruling.

He said his group will continue to oppose the requirement that NGOs register as foreign agents.

Russian and international human rights organizations say the law is part of a Kremlin campaign to silence independent voices during President Vladimir Putin's third term.

They say the government uses it to impose pressure on NGOs.

Based on reporting by TASS and Interfax