Statement by Human Rights Groups on the Unjust Verdict and Sentence in Politically Motivated Case Against Russian Human Rights Defender Oleg Orlov

February 27, 2024

We, 31 human rights organizations, condemn Moscow’s Golovinsky District Court’s sentencing today of Oleg Orlov, co-chair of Human Rights Defense Center Memorial, to 2 years and 6 months in prison on politically motivated charges of “repeatedly discrediting” Russia’s armed forces.
Orlov, 70, is a veteran human rights defender who has devoted his life to exposing rights abuses and seeking justice for victims. His “crime” was to protest the Kremlin’s war on Ukraine and the escalating political repression inside Russia. Orlov’s trial was a mockery of justice and an attack on the fundamental right to free expression. He and his legal team have said that they will appeal the verdict.

Russian authorities should quash Oleg Orlov’s conviction and release him immediately along with all those detained simply for exercising their basic human rights, including public criticism of government abuses. Key international actors should use their influence take all possible measures to obtain Orlov’s freedom and hold the Russian government accountable for its grave and persistent human rights violations.

List of Signatories

Amnesty International

Andrei Sakharov Institute

Anti-Discrimination Center Memorial (Belgium)

Belarussian Helsinki Committee

Board of Civil Society Forum

Center for Civil Liberties, Ukraine

Citizens’ Watch

Civic Assistance Committee

Crew Against Torture

Freedom Files, Poland

Freedom House

Front Line Defenders

Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)

Human Rights Center Viasna (Belarus)

Human Rights Defence Center “Memorial”

Human Rights House Foundation

Human Rights Watch

International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH)

International Memorial Association

International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR)

International Protection  Centre

Mass Media Defence Centre

Movement of Conscientious Objectors

Norwegian Helsinki Committee



Public Verdict Foundation

Radio Sakharov

Stichting Justice Initiative

The Netherlands Helsinki Committee

World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)

Top photo: Still from Mediazona.

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