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Russian Human Rights Group Memorial Fined as 'Foreign Agent'

A Moscow court has fined human rights group Memorial International 300,00 rubles ($4,703) for breaking Russia's infamous "foreign agents law" for non-governmental organizations, the Interfax news agency reported Wednesday.

Russia's Justice Ministry added Memorial International to its list of "foreign agents" last month, claiming that the group had taken part in "political activity" by criticizing the Kremlin's strict laws on non-government groups- including the use of the “foreign agent” label itself. The court found the organization guilty of not registering as an "agent" and not displaying the label on its publications.

Memorial pleaded not guilty and plans to appeal the verdict, the group's director Elena Zhemkova told Interfax.

Under Russian law, any non-governmental organization which takes part in “political activity” and receives money from abroad must declare itself as a foreign agent. More than 80 groups within Russia are currently classified under the label.

A number of organizations have chosen to close rather than associate themselves with the Soviet-era term.

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