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Decision to close Memorial human rights organization in Russia

Memorial International in Russia is being closed down by court order. Russia’s Supreme Court ruled that the organization violated the regulation under the “Foreign Spies Act” and ordered its closure. The court leader stated that this decision was taken, noting that there was a similar case against Memorial before.

The decision will be appealed

Yan Rachinsky, one of the directors of Memorial International, spoke to Kristina Safonova, the correspondent of Meduza, one of the opposition media organs operating in Russia, after the court’s decision. Responding to the reporter’s hope that Memorial International won’t be shut down, Rachinsky said, “There is always hope. It’s a matter of fortune.” Responding to the question about how he met the court decision, Rachinsky said, “The prosecutor’s speech had nothing to do with the content of the argument. The documents were not even examined.”

Rachinsky stated that they will object to the decision and that another lawsuit regarding the organization will be heard on December 29. Even if it is approved by the court, they will continue to work calmly,” he said.

Qualified as a spy

Founded in 1989, Memorial made a name for itself when it began to examine the darkest pages of Russian history. Last month, prosecutors accused the Moscow-based Memorial Center for Human Rights and its main body, Memorial International, of violating the “Foreign Spy Law”. The law in question stipulates that externally funded organizations are to be qualified as “agents” and to use this definition officially. The prosecution filed a lawsuit against Memorial International on the grounds that it did not add the “foreign agent” tag to its publications, including its website. Memorial Human Rights Center was accused of condoning terrorism and extremism.

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