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Russian Presidential Rights Chief Against Closing Memorial

Mikhail Fedotov

The head of Russia's presidential Human Rights Council has said he does not see any reason to close the independent rights organization Memorial.

Mikhail Fedotov told the Interfax news agency on October 13 that there are "no grounds" for closing down Memorial.

Russia's Ministry of Justice on October 10 appealed to the Supreme Court to close Memorial, but the reasons for the request were not made public.

Fedotov said the planned November 13 Supreme Court hearing on Memorial should be rescheduled to allow Memorial to conduct its planned November 19 conference on changes to its structure.

Fedotov said the changes Memorial plans to make would address the Justice Ministry's concerns.

Created in the late 1980s by a group of Soviet-era dissidents, including Nobel laureate Andrei Sakharov, Memorial has served as a tireless rights watchdog and important source of Soviet-era records for historians for a quarter century.

Based on reporting by Interfax