Wednesday. 17.04.2024

Russia's top court has ordered human rights group Memorial to dissolve after prosecutors accused the group of violating laws linked to overseas funding.

"[I hereby decree] to satisfy the lawsuit by the prosecutor general’s office to liquidate the International Memorial historical educational society," judge Alla Nazarova was cited as saying by state news agency TASS on Tuesday.

The group described the ruling as a "political decision" that was aimed at the "destruction of an organization that tackles historical political repression and the protection of human rights."

A Memorial leader, Jan Ratschinski, said the group would fight the ruling and take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

Memorial has always argued that the accusations against it are politically motivated. It has been fined by the courts numerous times.

'Foreign agents'

Current law requires groups that receive financial assistance from overseas to refer to themselves as foreign "agents." 

Memorial has refused to do so to date and complained of political persecution.

Founded in the late 1980s, the group seeks to secure the rights of political prisoners, as well as reconsider the country's history from the Stalin era and look again at Nazi atrocities in Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been critical of the group even as the court case unfolded. He has said it has provided support to terrorists and extremists.

Russian court dissolves human rights group Memorial