Russia Orders Leading Rights Group to Shut Down

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Russia’s Supreme Court has ordered the closure of International Memorial, Russia’s oldest human rights group.

Memorial, a decades-old organisation famed for documenting repression, found guilty of violating ‘foreign agent’ law.

The move marks the latest step in a sweeping crackdown on rights activists, independent media and opposition supporters.

That designation was given in 2016 for receiving funding from abroad.

Among the sites the group failed to mark with its “foreign agent” status was the vast database of victims of political repression that it has assembled over three decades of work.

The team argued that any mistakes had been corrected and that shutting down a prominent and respected organisation over such technical errors was disproportionate.

The justice ministry argued that a group’s social significance could be no excuse for breaking the law. But the prosecution’s closing speech pointed to a deeper motivation for this case.

Russia has earlier expelled a Dutch newspaper reported for what it called “administrative violations”.

The incident is Moscow’s second move against a member of the Western media in three months.

The decision came in retaliation for what it called London’s discrimination against Russian journalists working in Britain.

However, Russia’s state TV says the move came a response to London’s refusal to renew or issue visas to Russian journalists in Britain.

“The expulsion of Sarah Rainsford is our symmetrical response,” it further said.

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