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Russia seizes office of Nobel Peace Prize winner Memorial

October 7, 2022

A Russian court has reportedly ordered that Memorial's office in Moscow "become state property." The move came hours after the rights group, which was disbanded last year, won the Nobel Peace Prize.

The entrance to the Moscow office of the Memorial human rights center
The organization had tried, and failed, to stop the court from seizing its headquartersImage: Alexander Shcherbak/TASS/dpa/picture alliance

A Russian court on Friday ordered the seizure of the headquarters of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning human rights organization Memorial.

The delivery of the court's decision came hours after the announcement that Memorial had won this year's prestigious award along with Belarusian human rights activist Ales Bialiatski and the Ukrainian Center for Civil Liberties.

Memorial had been officially dissolved by Russian authorities in December. The court on Friday ordered that the organization's Moscow office "become state property," Russia's Interfax news agency reported.

"We are grateful to the Nobel Committee for honoring us with this award," Memorial said after failing to stop the Russian judiciary from seizing its office.

Rights campaigners win Nobel Peace Prize

Memorial is one of Russia's most highly regarded human rights organizations, having documented some of the crimes committed under the Soviet Union's Stalinist regime.

A representative of the general prosecutor's office accused Memorial of "rehabilitating Nazi criminals and discrediting authorities and creating a false image of the USSR."

But the human rights organization said the seizure of its office would not end its work.

"Memorial — it's a network, it's people, it's a movement," Memorial said, adding that while its work is currently under "heavy pressure," like many other organizations, "it is not possible to forbid memory and freedom."

ab/sms (dpa, AFP)