Russian judge orders dissolution of prominent human rights group

Moscow, Jan 25 (EFE).- Russian authorities on Wednesday ordered the closure of the Moscow Helsinki Group, one of the country’s oldest human rights organizations.

Judge Mikhail Kazakov ordered the closure at a Moscow court at the request of the justice ministry, according to Mediazone, an independent Russian news outlet.

The trial against the well-known NGO began on Wednesday and the verdict was read just six hours later.

The justice ministry had already called for the liquidation of the Moscow Helsinki Group in December 2022 for extending its activities “outside of their region,” meaning members of the group had worked on events beyond Moscow.

A spokesperson for the prosecution said at the trial that the offenses were not rectifiable and that the ministry considered the punishment appropriate.

The NGO, founded in the 1970s, rejected the reasons put forward by the prosecutors and urged the judge to dismiss the appeal.

“The claims being made are absurd. Human rights are extraterritorial,” said Moscow Helsinki Group activist Valery Borshchyov.

The group said that it would appeal its liquidation before the higher courts.

The director of the organization, Svetlana Astrakhantseva, told Efe on Monday that since Russia launched its military campaign in Ukraine “Russians have no civil or political rights.”

In late December 2021, Russia’s supreme court ordered the dissolution of another well-known human rights organization, the International Memorial Society.

Memorial was accused by the authorities of fostering a false image of the Soviet Union as a terrorist state, due to its investigations into abuse during Joseph Stalin’s from 1927 to 1953.EFE


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