Oleg Orlov. Photo: https://memorialcenter.orgmemorialcenter.org included into the register of foreign agents

14 March 2024, 16:12

Rights defenders declare Oleg Orlov* as prisoner of conscience

The human rights organization Amnesty International (AI) has declared Oleg Orlov*, who was sentenced to a colony term on charges of discrediting the Russian Army, as a prisoner of conscience and demanded his release.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on February 27, Oleg Orlov*, a co-chairman of the "Memorial" Centre for Human Rights Defence**, was found guilty within a criminal case for discrediting the Russian Army and sentenced to 2.5 years of freedom deprivation. His defence has filed an appeal against the verdict.

Orlov's sentence for his statements contradicts the Russian Constitution and the international covenants, human rights defenders have pointed out. Oleg Orlov* himself has treated the verdict as confirmation of Russia's return to totalitarianism.

"Over the years, for example, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Andrei Sakharov and Alexei Navalny were declared as prisoners of conscience," the "Memorial" Centre for Human Rights Defence** has reported in its Telegram channel.

Orlov's* sentence is a result of a "trial turned into a farce," organized to punish "a prominent critic of authorities," said Natalia Zvyagina, AI director for Russia. "The criminal case against Orlov* is just an episode in an ongoing repression campaign against those who peacefully express their oppositional views," Ms Zvyagina is quoted as saying on the AI's website.

The reason for Orlov's* accusation was a Russian translation posted on the Facebook*** of his article written for the "Mediapart" French outlet, in which he condemns the special military operation (SMO) in Ukraine.

On March 6, the project "Support for Political Prisoners. Memorial" declared Orlov* as a political prisoner, stating that he was convicted for his human rights activities.

*Included by the Russian Ministry of Justice (MoJ) into the register of foreign agents.

**As reported on the website of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), the reason for including on March 1, 2024, the unregistered "Memorial" Centre for Human Rights Defence (CHRD) into the roster of foreign agents was the spread of "inaccurate information aimed at creating a negative image of the Russian Federation, as well as the Russian Armed Forces."

***On March 21, 2022, the Tverskoi Court of Moscow banned the activities in Russia of the Meta Company, owning the Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, in connection with extremist activities.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on March 13, 2024 at 02:43 pm MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Source: Caucasian Knot

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