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Russian Human Rights Council decries prosecutors’ move to shut down Memorial as ‘disproportionate’

On Friday, November 12, Russia’s Presidential Human Rights Council released a statement of concern in response to prosecutors asking the courts to liquidate Memorial International and the Memorial Human Rights Center (Memorial HRC). 

In its statement, the Human Rights Council decries the lawsuit against Memorial as “disproportionate,” calling it an “extraordinary measure.” 

“At the moment, the Council believes that the proposed sanction is disproportionate to the cumulative violations and is unfair, since over the past 14 months oversight bodies haven’t identified a single violation by Memorial International of its obligations to comply with the law, and have found only two minor violations by Memorial HRC.”

The Human Rights Council added that it “is following the situation with concern” and is taking steps towards resolving the situation surrounding Memorial. 

On Thursday, November 11, Russian prosecutors filed a lawsuit with the Supreme Court seeking to “liquidate” Memorial International for “systematic violations” of Russia’s legislation on “foreign agents” — specifically, for its failure to include mandatory disclaimers about this status on public statements. The Supreme Court hearing is scheduled for November 25.

Simultaneously, prosecutors in the capital filed a lawsuit with the Moscow City Court seeking to liquidate the Memorial Human Rights Center, claiming that the center’s articles “contain linguistic and psychological signs of justifying the activities” of terrorist and extremist organizations. The Moscow City Court hearing is scheduled for November 23. 

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