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Russia’s Supreme Court rejects bid to shut down Memorial human rights organization

January 28, 2015, 13:09 UTC+3
If the decision is not appealed, it will enter into force in a month
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© ITAR-TASS/Alexander Ryumin

MOSCOW, January 28. /TASS/. Russia’s Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected the Justice Ministry’s request to dissolve Memorial, Russia’s oldest human rights organization.

The court has decided to leave the complaint by the ministry without satisfaction, Judge Alla Nazarova said.

The case on the Memorial dissolution has been closed as the organization has rectified the violations, the Justice Ministry said.

Memorial "will continue its activity based on the new charter adopted at the IX report and election conference," the ministry’s press service said.

During the court hearing, a Justice Ministry representative explained that although the organization has rectified all the violations, the documents provided are yet not valid as they have not been sent for registration.

Therefore, the ministry insisted on a "substantive consideration of a case."

Memorial’s lawyers asked the court to dismiss the plaintiff's claims, stressing that over the past several years the fund has passed all the checks and faced no claims from the Justice Ministry.

"There is nothing illegal in our activities. All the violations have been rectified. Your Honour, we ask not to disband Memorial, as our fund does a lot of good," a representative of the organization said.

After the court hearing, Memorial’s representatives said they were satisfied with the court’s ruling. "This is a decision which is based on the law," a spokesman for the organization said.

If the decision is not appealed, it will enter into force in a month.

Memorial is Russia’s oldest human rights organization that was founded in the late 1980s. Its initial task was to study the history of political repression in the former Soviet Union. Now it collects and publishes information about violations of human rights in the territory of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Last summer, Memorial was registered as a "foreign agent" under a new Russian law and in October, the Justice Ministry filed a lawsuit to the Supreme Court calling for Memorial’s dissolution. It claimed that the organization does not comply with its own charter.

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