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Press Statement
Sean McCormack, Spokesman
Washington, DC
December 9, 2008


Russia: Raid on Memorial Research Center

We are deeply concerned about a raid by Russian law enforcement officers on the research center operated by Memorial in St. Petersburg last week. Memorial is a respected non-governmental organization dedicated to remembering the victims of totalitarian repression, and the historical documents and information in its archives are invaluable sources for historians and social scientists worldwide. It is vital to permit their important work to continue without hindrance. We urge Russian authorities to ensure the speedy and safe return of all seized equipment and archival material. Civil society organizations such as the Memorial research center play a critical role in the development of democratic societies and the promotion of human rights.

Unfortunately, this action against Memorial is not an isolated instance of pressure against freedom of association and expression in Russia. In the past few weeks alone, there have been reports of harassment against media and other civil society organizations. It is imperative that these organizations and individuals be allowed to function and flourish, free of political pressure, intimidation, harassment, or restrictions.

2008/1023


Released on December 9, 2008

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