Russia's Supreme Court has ordered the disbandment of a rights group led by an outspoken critic of President Putin. The move comes as the Kremlin increases pressure on rights campaigners.
The respected Russian group "For Human Rights," run by opposition politician Lev Ponomaryov, was on Friday ordered to close by the Supreme Court.
In a statement carried by the state TASS news agency, the Supreme Court cited "gross and unrecoverable violations of the organization's activities," without giving details of what those violations were.
According to TASS, the Justice Ministry has accused the group of breaching technicalities, such as by using an inaccurate legal address and by employing the name "Kuzbass" instead of the official name of Kemerovo for its branch in a Siberian region.
Ponomaryov said that the group would appeal the ruling.
"The movement itself will continue to live and work," he told news agency Agence France-Presse.
In 2013, the group was forcibly evicted from its Moscow offices.
Human rights on the decline
For Human Rights is one of the oldest groups of its kind in Russia, having been founded in 1997 by Ponomaryov, 78, a former member of parliament and one of the most renowned human rights activists in the country.
Ponomaryov was jailed for more than two weeks in December last year for urging people to take part in an unapproved rally in Moscow.
The disbandment order comes as authorities step up their pressure on rights campaigners. Last month, Putin removed several members of the opposition from his human rights council.
tj/ (dpa, AFP)