Second hearing on the case of liquidation of International Memorial

At the second hearing, the judge added a petition with 127,000 signatures against the closure of the organisation to the case. The next hearing is scheduled for December 28, 2021.

On Tuesday, December 14, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation held a second hearing on the lawsuit of the Prosecutor General’s Office to liquidate International Memorial. The siloviks (security forces) are seeking the closure of this oldest human rights organisation, accusing it of repeatedly violating the rules for labelling materials as “foreign agents”. At Tuesday’s trial, judge Alla Nazarova examined dozens of administrative cases against the society, its awards and sources of funding. Several dozen people came to the Supreme Court building to support Memorial.

“Scepticism instead of pride”

The hearing lasted five hours. During that time the judge managed to consider nine volumes of the case against International Memorial. A significant part of the judge’s time was spent studying the protocols submitted by the Prosecutor General’s Office drawn up for the absence of marking a “foreign agent” on the society’s materials.

Lawyer Maria Eismont

Representatives of International Memorial also demonstrated to the judge the dozens of awards the society has received. Judge Alla Nazarova viewed the Wilberforce Medal (for merits in the protection of human rights and the spread of the benefits of democracy), a diploma from the Vladimir Potanin Charitable Foundation (for the “Topography of Terror” project), the Hrant Dink Award (for efforts to preserve the memory of state terror) and other awards.

“Instead of being proud that our organisation has received such worthy awards and recognition in the world, [the judge showed] just her scepticism,” lawyer Maria Eismont commented on the trial. According to her, at the hearing a lot of attention was paid to minor violations by Memorial. “If a random person was at the hearing, he would not have understood that the liquidation of Russia’s largest and oldest human rights organisation was being considered,” Eismont stated.

The Prosecutor General’s Office is suspected of abuse of power

Lawyer Henry Reznik

The hearing also considered the issue of abuse of power by the Prosecutor General’s Office, said the well-known lawyer Henry Reznik after the trial.

According to him, the abuse was indicated by an article in a periodical of the Prosecutor General’s Office, where “in fact the activity of an organisation which receives money from abroad is equated with extremist and almost terrorist”. The judge refused to attach this article to the case file.

The next hearing of the Supreme Court will be held on December 28, 2021. There, the prosecutor and defence lawyers will make closing speeches, after which the court will retire for the ruling.



Photo: Lilia Matveeva