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A Moscow court ordered the closure of Russia’s Memorial Human Rights Centre on Wednesday, a day after its sister organization, Russia’s oldest human rights group, was forced to close. The Human Rights Centre maintains a running list of people it considers to be political prisoners, including Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.
The list includes Jehovah’s Witnesses and Muslims convicted of terrorism who, according to Memorial, were the victims of “unproven charges based on fabricated evidence due to their religious affiliation.” “Pozor! Pozor!” (Shame! Shame!) Memorial supporters chanted outside the court, wrapped up against a temperature of -12 degrees Celsius (10 Fahrenheit). The U.N. human rights office in Geneva said Russian courts had decided to “dissolve two of Russia’s most respected human rights groups and further weaken the country’s dwindling human rights community”. “We urge the Russian authorities to protect and support people and organizations that work to advance human rights across the Russian Federation,” it added.