Russian court hears petition to close renowned rights group

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s Supreme Court has started hearing a petition to shut down one of the country’s oldest and most prominent human rights groups, a move that sparked public outrage and is part of a months-long crackdown on dissent. The Prosecutor General’s Office this month petitioned the Supreme Court to revoke the legal status of Memorial — an international human rights group that studies political repression in the Soviet Union. Memorial was declared a “foreign agent” in 2016 — a label that implies additional government scrutiny and carries strong pejorative connotations. Prosecutors allege that the group violated regulations obligating it to mark itself as a “foreign agent.” Several hours into Thursday’s hearing, the court decided to adjourn until Dec. 14.