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Russia: jailing of human rights defender Oleg Orlov condemned

‘Today’s sentencing of Orlov is the result of a sham trial’ - Natalia Zviagina

Responding to news that Oleg Orlov, a prominent Russian human rights defender, has been sentenced to two years and eleven months in prison for “discrediting” the Russian armed forces, Natalia Zviagina, Amnesty International’s Russia Director, said:

Today’s sentencing of Orlov is the result of a sham trial enacted by the Russian authorities to punish a prominent state critic and instil fear among those who dare to speak up against the war in Ukraine. 

“Orlov’s prosecution forms part of the authorities’ unrelenting campaign of repression against those who peacefully express dissenting views.


“Oleg Orlov is a prisoner of conscience. He must be immediately and unconditionally released, and all of his criminal convictions should be quashed. 

“’War censorship’ laws fly in the face of Russia’s obligations under international human rights law. The authorities must scrap them, and all those detained for peacefully protesting against Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine must be released.”

Sham case under new law

Oleg Orlov, co-chair of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning organisation Memorial, was convicted under a newly-instituted “crime” of “repeatedly discrediting” the Russian armed forces and sentenced to two years and eleven months in a penal colony. Orlov previously served as co-chair of the Memorial Human Rights Centre, which was liquidated in February 2022.

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