MOSCOW, March 22 (UPI) -- The Russian version of a political party with seats in the European Parliament has been denied registration due to its name, Russia's Justice Ministry said.
The Pirate Party, which supports copyright and patent legislation, was turned down because Russian law defines piracy as a crime not a political entity, The Moscow Times reported Tuesday.
"According to the Justice Ministry's logic, European lawmakers are criminals too," said Justice Party leader Pavel Rassudov, adding that there are at least 41 pirate parties in the world.
Rassudov's party has 15,000 card-carrying members.
Rassudov said the real reason for the rejection may be the government's reluctance to allow new players into the field ahead of December's State Duma elections.
The Pirate Party filed an appeal of the Justice Ministry's decision with a Moscow district court Monday.