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Russian Supreme Court rules out closure of NGO Memorial

15:10 28/01/2015

MOSCOW, January 28 (RAPSI) – Russia's Supreme Court has dismissed on Wednesday a request of the Ministry of Justice to close rights group Memorial, RAPSI reports from the courtroom.

Earlier, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice noted that Memorial had eliminated legal violations, but that the ministry did not withdraw its lawsuit, leaving the matter at the court’s discretion.

In turn, Memorial representatives told the court that the organization had never violated any laws, but that it had met the Ministry of Justice halfway.

The Ministry of Justice sued Memorial for alleged numerous violations of the law in its activity, including the fact that its charter and structure ran counter to national legislation. The organization was twice cited for violating the law, the ministry noted and added that it would withdraw the lawsuit if the violations were eliminated.

On Wednesday, the Ministry’s press service said Memorial could continue working in line with the new charter.

Memorial believes the Ministry’s complaints were pure formalities; however, the organization held a conference in November 2014 and subsequently amended the contentious charter.

Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland welcomes the ruling of the court. “I am pleased that the decision of the Supreme Court was positive and in line with Council of Europe standards”.

The international historical, educational, human rights and charitable society Memorial was created to help rehabilitate the victims of Stalinist persecution campaigns. Memorial currently comprises 62 organizations from Russia, Belarus, Germany, Italy, France, Kazakhstan, Latvia and Ukraine.

It also includes the Memorial Center, which monitors the human rights situation in the North Caucasus and is on the foreign agents register.

A federal law adopted in November 2012 requires that all NGOs engaged in political activity and receiving foreign funding register as foreign agents or face fines of up to 500,000 rubles (approx. $7,400).

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Russian Supreme Court rules out closure of NGO Memorial

15:10 28/01/2015 Russia's Supreme Court has dismissed on Wednesday a request of the Ministry of Justice to close rights group Memorial.
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