The Court upheld the decision to impose a fine of 300,000 rubles on Citizens’ Watch

On the 30th anniversary of the Russian Constitution, the Citizens’ Watch’s team is not in the mood to celebrate. Today, December 12, the St. Petersburg City Court upheld the decision to impose a fine of 300,000 rubles on our human rights organization for inaccuracies in reports of “foreign agents”. Now we have 60 days to find money and pay the fine.

The decision to impose a fine was made by the Kuibyshevsky District Court on November 9. The essence of the offense is the provision of foreign agent report for 2022 using the old form . It should be noted that this particular form was available on the Ministry of Justice website. In addition, it was more informative than the new one. On September 6, a protocol on an administrative offense under Part 2 of Article 19.34 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation was drawn up against our human rights organization . We asked the court to recognize the committed administrative offense  as insignificant, since we submitted the required reports on time, although with inaccuracies, the administrative offense was committed for the first time and obviously didn’t cause no harm to anyone. However, judge Aleksander Zhukov  didn’t agree with our arguments.

According to the court, Citizens’ Watch is not in a difficult financial situation, although the organization doesn’t have money to pay the fine. All we can do is raise the necessary amount among our friends and supporters. Otherwise, we will face confiscation of the office, bankruptcy and liquidation.

We have been defending human rights since 1992. It seems that now we need your support. We are in a difficult situation, but we believe that we can overcome it. As Elena Shakhova, chair of Citizens’ Watch, says: “What? Liquidation of the organization? … Not on my watch!”