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Statement of the Czech MFA on the ban of the International Memorial

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is concerned about today's decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation to ban the International Memorial. The crackdown on Russia's oldest and most internationally respected NGO symbolizes repressions against civil society and the absence of an independent judiciary in the Russian Federation. It is yet another example of how Russian authorities abuse the law on „foreign agents“ to gradually narrow the space for independent and critical thinking and dialogue. We recall that this law violates Russia's international human rights obligations.

By liquidating Memorial and other non-governmental organizations and with heavy sentences on trumped-up charges for activists such as Yury Dmitriyev, the Russian authorities are first and foremost hurting their own citizens. No society can long live a lie about its own history and no government can forever hide the truth about political repressions.

We deeply appreciate the courage of the members and collaborators of the Memorial. Their work exposed the murders of millions of Soviet citizens, including several thousand Czechs. We support all those in the Russian Federation who try to remind us of the crimes of the past and to protect human rights in the present. The Czech Republic together with our EU partners and other allies will continue to support their efforts.

We call on the Russian authorities to reevaluate their decision in the International Memorial case and to stop baseless interventions against civil society and free media.