Statement by Foreign Minister Heiko Maas regarding the lawsuit filed by the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office to liquidate the organisation Memorial:
Anyone familiar with Memorial’s decades of work to promote human rights and to deal with the legacy of political tyranny has to be shocked at the very idea that this organisation is to be shut down.
With its courageous, tireless work, Memorial rendered outstanding service to the citizens of Russia. However, dealing with the past in an independent, critical and professional manner is also inestimably important for relations between Germany and Russia — particularly when it comes to the crimes Germans committed against people in the Soviet Union.
The Russian judiciary must protect the right of committed citizens to join together freely in organisations, a right that is enshrined in law. The politically motivated persecution of critical civil society must end.