Russia court closes human rights organization for alleged legal violations News
Birulik, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Russia court closes human rights organization for alleged legal violations

The Moscow City Court ruled Friday to liquidate the Public Commission for the Preservation of the Heritage of Academician Sakharov (Sakharov Center), a human rights organization,  for “systematic, gross and irremediable violations of the law,” according to Interfax. The administrative claim to liquidate the Sakharov Center was granted after an application from the Moscow Department of the Ministry of Justice. 

The Sakharov Center, established in 1996, was responsible for holding several exhibitions, commemorative evenings, conferences and public discussions for Russian citizens to speak about human rights and freedom. Earlier this year, inspections were conducted by the Russian Justice Ministry into the Sakharov Center and allegedly revealed violations. In particular, it was found that the organization of conferences and exhibitions was a “violation of its territorial sphere of activity.” 

In January 2023, the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office added the US’s Andrei Sakharov Foundation  to its list of “undesirable organizations.” The following day, the Sakharov Center’s building was seized. Russian authorities have closed several human rights groups in the last two years, including the Moscow Helsinki Group, Memorial and Human Rights Watch’s Moscow office. In a statement, the Sakharov Center warned about the lack of freedom in Russia stating that:

Uncontrolled power that corrupts society with myths based on fear, hatred and a false sense of superiority, power that manipulates real and imaginary national traumas, cynically exploiting even the most exalted people’s feelings, inevitably follows the path of repression, arbitrariness, destruction and bloodshed. Sakharov warned about this, we see it with our own eyes today.

The decision to dissolve the Sakharov Center was denounced by the French foreign ministry, which said in a statement that “these repressive, arbitrary actions once again demonstrate the Russian authorities’ contempt for the rule of law and democratic principles.”