The Moscow City Court has decided to liquidate the oldest human rights organization operating in Russia, the Moscow Helsinki Group (MHG). Lawsuit to liquidate MHG in December 2022 filed Ministry of Justice
“Satisfy the statement of claim of the Ministry of Justice on the liquidation of the human rights organization Moscow Helsinki Group,” the judge announced the decision.
Member of the Moscow Helsinki Group, Vice-President of the Moscow Chamber of Lawyers Henry Reznik announced his intention to appeal the court's decision. “We will keep fighting. We will go through all the steps. What is it for? This is necessary, because if now our legal efforts are generally doomed to failure, then times are changing. People are leaving, the regime is changing,” Mr. Reznik noted.
The basis for the statement of claim of the Ministry of Justice was the activities of the MHG outside Moscow. Representatives of the ministry believe that the group is primarily a Moscow regional organization, which means that it should not violate the “limits of territorial activity” and take part in conferences in other regions of the country.
“Examples of such activities: observations at high-profile lawsuits, appeals to regional authorities, as well as participation in the events of the organization’s partners (including online),” the message reads. site MHG.
As the Kommersant correspondent clarified, during the trial, the Ministry of Justice and the prosecutor's office pointed to 11 violations of the "limits of territorial activity" committed by the MHG, including an appeal to the Governor of St. Petersburg Alexander Beglov in 2020 and an online lecture on the work of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for human rights activists from the Krasnodar Territory.
On December 20 last year, the metropolitan department of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation demanded that the Moscow Helsinki Group be liquidated for violating the law “On NGOs”. January 17 representatives of the Ministry of Justice and lawyers of the MHG met in the Moscow City Court. As Svetlana Astrakhantseva, executive director of the MHG, clarified to Kommersant, human rights activists filed objections to the department's demands to close the group and filed a motion to postpone the court session.
The Moscow Helsinki Group was founded on May 12, 1976. The purpose of the organization is to promote the practical implementation of all international legal obligations of Russia in the field of human rights. The group, in particular, was engaged in collecting information about the violation of human rights received from citizens of the USSR.