4 Feb 2022 19:46

Memorial files petition with Russian Supreme Court to suspend its liquidation

MOSCOW. Feb 4 (Interfax) - The Memorial International Historical, Educational, Charitable, and Human Rights Society (designated as a foreign agent NGO in Russia) has filed a petition with the Russian Supreme Court's Appeals Board, seeking the suspension of the hearings on its liquidation, Memorial said in a statement on Friday.

"The petition is based on the European Court of Human Rights' decision to adopt interim measures in line with Rule 39 of the Rules of Court. Under this decision, Russia is supposed to suspend Memorial's liquidation while the ECHR hears an application by Russian NGOs against the foreign agent legislation," Memorial said on its website on Friday.

This petition was filed separately after Memorial had filed an appeal against the Supreme Court's judgment ordering the organization's liquidation, it said.

The ECHR ruled earlier, following the Memorial Human Rights Center (designated as a foreign agent in Russia) application, that the Russian government must suspend the enforcement of the judicial decisions on liquidating both organizations while the ECHR hears their applications against the foreign agent legislation.

Lawyers for the International Memorial on January 31 filed an appeal against the Supreme Court's decision to liquidate it.

The Supreme Court ruled on December 28, 2021 to grant the Prosecutor General's Office motion to liquidate the International Memorial. The Moscow City Court granted a similar motion by the Moscow City Prosecutor's Office with regard to the Memorial Human Rights Center on December 29, 2021.

The Prosecutor General's Office argued in its motion that the International Memorial has committed repeated gross violations of Russian laws and regulations.

In particular, the Prosecutor General's Office insisted that Memorial concealed "the fact of acting as a foreign agent," for which the society and its administrative personnel were repeatedly held administratively liable.

In addition, the office established that, while receiving funding from abroad, the organization was pursuing political activities to influence government decisions and shape public opinion.

The prosecutors reasoned that Memorial's liquidation was necessary and proportionate to the violations it committed.

Memorial objected to the Prosecutor General's Office charges and insisted that there were no lawful grounds for its liquidation.

The International Memorial and the Memorial Human Rights Center have paid over 6 million rubles in fines for violating foreign agent legislation.