General Prosecutor demands shutdown of Memorial
The Russian General Prosecutor this week filed a case against the international organisation Memorial in the country’s Supreme Court.
The prosecutors argue that the organisation has failed to mark its public information materials with the foreign agent label, a requirement imposed by the Justice Ministry on all organisations and individuals listed as so-called foreign agents.
The organisation has categorically refused to mark its materials with the agent label and has consequently been fined numerously. Since the organisation was put on the disputed list, a debt of about 6 million rubles has accumulated, newspaper Kommersant reports.
The case is politically motivated, representatives of the organisation underlines. In a statement, the International Memorial Board says “this is a political decision aimed at exterminating the Memorial Society, the organisation dealing with history of political repression and human rights defence.”
“We believe that there are no legal grounds for the Memorial to be dismantled,” the representatives of the organisation’s board underline.
The court hearing is scheduled to take place on 25 November.
The international organisation Memorial has vehemently opposed the Russian foreign agent law since it was adopted in 2012.
“We have repeatedly stated that the act in question has been introduced with the view to eradicating independent organisations and insisted that it should be revoked. However, while the law is still in force we are obliged to follow its requirements,” the statement from the organisation reads.
Memorial was originally added to the «foreign agent» list in 2013 following an inspection by the Russian General Prosecutor.
The Memorial has over the years been divided in several units and regional organizations. Among them has been the human rights commission Memorial in the Komi Republic. That regional organization was officially closed down in late 2019, four years after its was put on the foreign agent list, 7x7-journal reported.
The foreign agent law was originally aimed at non-governmental organisations that receive funding from abroad and involves in so-called political activity. Since its adoption in 2012, the law has repeatedly been amended and its scope expanded. Also individuals can now be put on the list, including journalists and lawyers.