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Russia Supreme Court upholds shutdown of Chechen rights NGO

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation [official website] has upheld a prior ruling to shut down the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society [advocacy website], a small NGO that reported on human rights violations and disappearances in the Northern Caucasus. The group was first shut down in October [JURIST report] after a lower court applied a controversial law [JURIST report; JURIST news archive] supported by President Vladimir Putin that bans NGOs headed by persons with criminal records. One month after the enactment of the law, RCFS co-founder Stanislav Dmitriyevsky was convicted of inciting racial hatred [JURIST report].

The ruling was immediately denounced by human rights groups such as Amnesty International [press release]. Maureen Byrnes, Executive Director of Human Rights First [advocacy website], commented [press release] that the decision "sends a chilling message to all independent critics of the Russian government’s human rights practices." Dmitriyevsky has already announced plans to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights [official website]. Index for Free Expression has more.

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