Russia: new hearing against Memorial, protests in Moscow

New hearing today in Moscow against the historic organization for the defense of human rights and the recovery of the memory of the victims of repression Memorial. A few dozen people gathered to protest in front of the Supreme Court building examining the Attorney General’s request for the closure of Memorial International. An activist was arrested for exhibiting a sign reading “Hands off Memorial. Free political prisoners”, denounces the Ovd-Info organization.

Memorial international is accused of violating the law on foreign agents (it was declared so in 2016). The proceeding is chaired by judge Alla Nazarova presides over the hearing. Memorial is defended by a group of among the most popular lawyers in Russia: Genri Reznik, Maria Eismont, Mikhail Biryukov, Grigory Vaipan, Anastasia Garina, Tatyana Glushkova, Tamilla Imanova, Natalya Morozova and Natalya Sekretaryova.

In parallel proceeds, the new hearing is set for Thursday, the case for the closure of the Memorial Human Rights Center at the Moscow City Court, which opened the proceedings at the request of the Moscow prosecutor’s office. The independent group that is part of the Memorial galaxy is accused of having violated not only the law on foreign agents – it was declared as such in 2016 – but also that on extremist and terrorist organizations. (continues)

Memorial maintains an archive with the files of over 60,000 Soviet citizens, victims of repression and dissidents, and a library with 40,000 books and documents on the history of the USSR, as well as a museum dedicated to the gulag system. Memorial International has a database with more than three million names of victims of repression and another with 41,000 names of NKVD officials between 1935 and 1939, the time of Stalinist terror.

“The memories of the witnesses of this era are among the most important sources for conveying a sense of how prisoners of the gulags lived and survived and what it meant to be a citizen in a totalitarian state. For the moment these sources are available. So it is ours. primary goal of collecting and maintaining these testimonies while the sources are still alive, “the organization explains on its website.

Last month, the two Russian Nobel Peace Laureates Mikhail Gorbachev and Dmitry Muratov (among the founders of Memorial was Andrei Sakharov, the third Nobel Peace Prize awarded in Russia), jointly denounced that the attempts to close Memorial ” they are a source of anxiety and concern in the country, and we share them “.