St. Petersburg court again decides in Memorials favour
On 20 March the Dzherzhynsky District Court in St Petersburg concluded its repeat review of the claim brought by the research and information centre “Memorial” against the unlawfulness of the decision to search the Centres office and the violations of the Centres rights during this search on 4 December 2008. As reported here, during the search hard disks were taken away which contain invaluable historical information which the Memorial Centre had been collecting over 20 years.
On first ruling by the Dzherzhynsky District Court was on 20 January. It also ruled in favour of Memorial and specifically noted that there had been a violation since the lawyer called by the organization had not been allowed into the office while the search was taking place.
According to the courts ruling all material removed was supposed to returned to the Centre, however the Prosecutor appealed against the ruling in the city court which ordered that the case be returned for a second review. The court claimed that the authority of the lawyer who came that day had not been sufficiently examined by the first instance court.
The ruling today, 20 March, effectively reiterated the finding of that first ruling. This had found that the search was warranted and therefore legal, however that the failure to allow the lawyer to be present had been unlawful.
It supplemented the ruling by adding that the refusal to allow Tatyana Kosinova, representative of the Board and member of the Council of Founders of the Memorial Centre had been a similar infringement.