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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Suits Guide Prompts State Probe

City prosecutors are investigating the publication of a how-to guide for suing the government, the head of Memorial, the human-rights organization that published the guide, said Monday.

Moscow's Tverskaya Inter-District Prosecutor's Office last week requested that Memorial provide financial and other documents related to the publication of the book, which explains how to file suit against the government in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Tatyana Kasatkina, executive director of Memorial, said Monday that the documents had been delivered to prosecutors along with a request for an explanation of authorities' interest in the book, which was put out in collaboration with the Alvarez publishing house.

As of Monday, prosecutors had not responded to Memorial's query, and employees of the nongovernmental organization were at a loss to explain the legal grounds for the prosecutors' inspection.

"We still can't understand what this is all about," she said. "There may be some subjective factors involved."

The investigation comes amid increasing government pressure on foreign NGOs and Russian organizations that receive foreign funding.

Kasatkina said the book had been funded by the European Union and written by Philip Leach, a leading expert on human rights at London Metropolitan University, in collaboration with Russian lawyers.

The book was published in a run of 5,000 in January 2006.

Most copies were distributed to lawyers and human rights activists, Kasatkina said.

Memorial puts out three or four books each year, and this is the first time prosecutors have taken an interest in its publications, she said.

Russians file more cases with the Strasbourg court than people in any other Council of Europe member country, after exhausting their options in Russian courts.

President Vladimir Putin said earlier this month that some of the court's decisions regarding Russia were politically motivated.