«Justification of extremism and terrorism»: the Prosecutor’s Office of Moscow finds additional grounds for the liquidation of the Memorial Human Rights Centre

15.11.2021

The preliminary court hearing will be held at 10:30 AM, November 23

On November 8, the Moscow prosecutor’s office filed a claim with the Moscow City Court to liquidate the Memorial Human Rights Centre. According to the full text available to the HRC, in addition to «hiding of information about the performance of the function of a foreign agent,» the alleged signs of justification of extremism and terrorism were found in the HRC’s publications.

The preliminary court hearing, presided by judge M.Yu. Kazakov is scheduled for November 23, 10:30 AM. Earlier, this judge decided to recognize the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) as extremist. During the hearing, the Memorial Human Rights Centre as the defendant can submit the response to the claim and issue the motions, and the date for considering the case on the merits will be scheduled.

«Systematically violated the Convention on the Rights of the Child»

From the 11-page statement of action and the 180-page annexes, it follows that the results of inspections by the Ministry of Justice, Roskomnadzor (the Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies, and Mass Communications) and the Prosecutor’s office «indicate that the organization and its head are conducting activities with repeated gross violations of the Constitution of the Russian Federation and federal laws». Namely:

  • The HRC participated in political activities and obtained foreign funding, but did not apply papers for being enlisted in the register of NGOs performing the functions of a foreign agent. On April 30, 2013, the head of the organization was provided with a submission about the violation of the law. On July 21, 2014, the Ministry of Justice ordered to add the organization to the register.
  • There are numerous violations of the requirements of paragraph 1 of Art. 24 of the law #7-FZ. It is referred to the lack of «foreign agent» label on social media (8 fines): on the Facebook page of the Ingushetia office of the Memorial HRC; the organization’s account on Vkontakte social media; the organization’s account on Twitter; and the special project of the HRC on illegal preventive registration in Dagestan. For each of the above-mentioned pages, the Moscow courts imposed fines on the legal entity (RUB 300 000 each) and the chairman of the Council (RUB 100 000 each).
  • «These circumstances indicate that the organization demonstrates a steady disregard for the law, does not ensure the publicity of its activities, and prevents proper public control, which grossly violates the rights of citizens, including the right to reliable information about the activities».

City Prosecutor D.G. Popov, who signed the lawsuit to the Moscow City Court, claims that the HRC has been systematically concealing information about the performance of the functions of a foreign agent, thereby violating both Law #82-FZ and Law #7-FZ, as well the Constitution of the Russian Federation, the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and even the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The same grounds were indicated in the liquidation claim of the International Memorial, filed with the Supreme Court on behalf of the Prosecutor General’s Office.

The prosecutor recalls that one submission and four warnings were already issued against the HRC since the centre did not publish activity reports on the information portal of the Ministry of Justice in 2015-2020.

Some grounds for liquidation are different from the claims to the International Memorial

It was stated that the «linguistic and psychological signs of justification of the activities of members of the international terrorist and extremist organizations «Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami», «Tablighi Jamaat», «Takfir wal-Hijra» and the extremist organizations «Artpodgotovka» and «Jehovah’s Witnesses» were allegedly found in the materials of the HRC.

This statement refers to the list of political prisoners which has been maintained by the program to support political prisoners of the Memorial Human Rights Centre since 2008, and the information on individual cases. According to the lawsuit, «These organizations’ activities are described as legitimate and permissible by the materials’ authors, and the participation in these activities is described as an exercise of the right to freedom of religion... The publications aim to form the public opinion of the admissibility of terrorist and extremist activities, specifically the activities of international extremist and terrorist organizations and participation in them».

The conclusions were made according to the psycho-linguistic examination by the autonomous non-commercial organization Centre for Sociocultural Expertise.

We’re doing the right thing

The claims are nonsense.

We are accused of failing to comply with the requirements of the vaguely worded «law», which was interpreted arbitrarily and broadly. The requirements for NGOs have expanded over the years. Until 2019, neither the Ministry of Justice nor the Roskomnadzor required the «foreign agents» NGOs to label their social networks — in 2019 it became a requirement suddenly. Is it possible to liquidate an organization for the non-fulfillment of undeclared requirements?

The International Memorial had no reporting issues, but it was planned for liquidation, too. It’s unpleasant to have difficulties with the provision of reports, but, unfortunately, all the repressive laws have a predicted result.

The accusations of «justification of terrorism and extremism» are also weird. There is an obligatory notification in all the reports on political prisoners’ recognition that the recognition does not mean that the Memorial Human Rights Centre agrees with the views and statements of the person, or approves the person’s statements and actions.

We are grateful to all people who support us. We believe the attention to us and our work from both our opponents and supporters means that we are doing the right thing.

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