Russia Jails Rights Activist Orlov for 2-1/2 Years

In a trial that has been criticized by foreign observers as politically motivated, veteran human rights activist Oleg Orlov was found guilty of undermining the Russian military forces and was sentenced to 2.5 years in jail by a Moscow court on Tuesday.

Orlov, 70, has been a leader of the rights organization Memorial for more than 20 years. In 2022, one year after it was outlawed and disbanded in Russia, it was awarded a share of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Memorial reported that Orlov was placed under arrest right away by the court and handcuffed following the decision.

Monday’s trial saw Orlov deliver final arguments in which he denounced the “strangulation of freedom” in Russia, calling it a “dystopia.”

The case against him stemmed from an article he wrote in 2022 in which he said Russia under President Vladimir Putin had descended into fascism.

He was initially fined 150,000 roubles ($1,628) by a district court last year, but a retrial was ordered and prosecutors sought a jail sentence of two years and 11 months.

The U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in Russia, Mariana Katzarova, called Orlov’s trial “an orchestrated attempt to silence the voices of human rights defenders in Russia.”

Memorial, founded in 1989, has documented human rights abuses from the time of Soviet leader Josef Stalin to the present and defended freedom of speech, with a focus on identifying and honouring individual victims.

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Sydney Okafor

I am so passionate about this my profession as a broadcast journalist and voiceover artists and presently a reporter at TV360 Nigeria

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