Russia’s Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered a ban on the country’s oldest and most prominent human rights organization. The order has angered the public and is being described as a sequel to months of coercive action against human rights activists, independent media and opposition supporters. The Prosecutor General’s Office last month filed a petition in the Supreme Court to revoke the legal status of human rights organization Memorial.
Memorial is an international human rights organization that gained prominence for its studies on political repression during the Soviet Union. At present, more than 50 small organizations come under it in the country and abroad. The court on Tuesday gave an order in favor of the prosecution. Prosecutors alleged during the trial that the memorial “constructs a false image of the Soviet Union as a terrorist state and rehabilitates Nazi criminals by covering up their actions.”
Was declared ‘foreign agent’ in 2006
Memorial was declared a ‘foreign agent’ in 2016. If an organization is declared a foreign agent, then the government keeps a close watch on it and additional review is done on its functioning, which brings down the credibility of the organization concerned. Prosecutors alleged that the organization violated the rules that any organizations must follow after being declared a foreign agent and also concealed its identity in this regard.
The leaders of the organization will continue the activities even after the ban
Memorial and its supporters called the government’s allegations politically motivated. The leaders of the organization have committed to continue their activities even after the court’s order of stay. Russia has been accused several times in the past of repressing human rights activists and opposition leaders. Organizations like America and NATO have often expressed their concern in this regard.