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Russian court jails war critic Oleg Orlov

February 27, 2024

A court has sentenced human rights campaigner Oleg Orlov to two and a half years in prison for criticizing Russia's war in Ukraine. The 70-year-old is co-chairman of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning rights group Memorial.

Oleg Orlov in court for the sentencing
Orlov left the courtroom to applause from his supporters Image: Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP/dpa/picture alliance

A Moscow court on Monday jailed a veteran human rights campaigner Oleg Orlov for "repeatedly discrediting" the Russian military and the war in Ukraine.

The 70-year-old, who is co-chairman of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning human rights group Memorial, has dismissed the case against him as politically motivated.

"The court has determined Orlov's guilt and orders a sentence of two years and six months... in a general regime penal colony," the judge said at the end of the retrial.

Prosecutors accused Orlov of discrediting the Russian army in a piece for the French online publication Mediapart. 

Orlov had already been tried and convicted in October, when a court fined him 150,000 rubles (about €1,500 $1,626) in October after a first trial. However, prosecutors claimed the punishment — significantly milder than some long custodial sentences for also criticizing the war  — had been too lenient and successfully appealed for a new trial.

rc/msh (Reuters, AFP, AP)