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Russia's Supreme Court liquidates major human rights organization led by Lev Ponomarev

Source: MBK Media

Russia’s Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a Justice Ministry lawsuit demanding the dissolution of Lev Ponomarev’s “For Human Rights” movement, MBK Media reported.

According to the wire service Interfax, the ruling means that the movement itself and all of the organizations within it will be shut down in Russia. They will also be deleted from the country’s registry of legal entities.

Ponomarev, a 78-year-old human rights veteran, told Interfax that his organization will continue its work despite the high court’s decision. The movement plans to appeal the ruling and submit a petition to the European Court for Human Rights.

Russia’s Justice Ministry asked for Ponomarev’s For Human Rights movement to be liquidated because its officials believed the nonprofit had violated the Russian Constitution and multiple other laws. Those alleged violations included numerous charges made under Russia’s law on “foreign agents,” which places operational restrictions and a social stigma on organizations that operate in Russia but receive foreign funding.

For Human Rights was listed as a foreign agent for the second time in its history in February of 2019 following an “unplanned document check” by the Justice Ministry. Lev Ponomarev had previously been arrested and jailed in December for supporting youth protesters. His organization had also been included on the foreign agent list in December 2014, but it was later removed in December 2015.