Court orders closure of Russia's oldest human rights group

Court orders closure of Russia’s oldest human rights group

A court in the Russian capital order Wednesday’s closure of the Moscow Helsinki Group, one of Russia’s largest and most respected human rights organizations.

Last month, Russia’s Justice Ministry filed a court order to shut down the group, saying it violated unspecified “legal requirements” in carrying out its activities, according to a statement on the group’s website.

The lawsuit was based on the results of an unscheduled inspection by the Moscow prosecutor’s office, which took place in November, the business daily RBC reported.

According to the court, the main violation of the group was that it carried out its activities throughout Russia despite the status of a regional organization, according to in RBC business every day.

The Moscow Helsinki Group was founded in 1976 by a group of Russian dissidents led by Soviet physicist Yuri Orlov and was named after the 1975 Helsinki human rights accords.

The organization became one of the main civil society mechanisms for exposing human rights violations in the Soviet Union as well as, later, in Russia.

The activities of the Moscow Helsinki Group included sending proposals for legislative initiatives to the State Duma, calling for the transfer of remand prisoners to house arrest, calling for amnesty for prisoners and urging the state to protect the journalists.

Last year, a Russian court also confirmed an order disbanding another prominent advocacy group, Memorial, which was later reward The Nobel Peace Prize.

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