Oleg Orlov still facing criminal proceedings


It is almost exactly a year since human rights defender Natalya Estemirova was abducted in Chechnya and murdered. Nobody has been charged with the crime.

However on 6 July 2010, Oleg Orlov, Chairman of the Board of the Human Rights Centre “Memorial”, was charged in Moscow with committing the crime under paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 129 of the RF Criminal Code (defamation).

As reported, the civil suit was over a statement issued by Oleg Orlov on the evening of the day that human rights defender Natalya Estemirova was abducted and murdered. Orlov said that Kadyrov bore political responsibility for the death of Natalya Estemirova since the enforcement structures subordinate to Kadyrov violate human rights in Chechnya and that there is an atmosphere of fear in the republic (

Details about the court hearings in October speak for themselves:

On18 June, 2010. The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), denounced the ongoing criminal proceedings against Oleg Orlov

“The Observatory strongly condemns the ongoing criminal proceedings against Mr. Oleg Orlov, which seem to merely aim at silencing his freedom of expression and human rights activities.

The Observatory further recalls that “statements like Orlov’s are perfectly legitimate in a democracy and should be subject neither to civil-law nor to criminal-law sanctioning”, as pointed out by Miklos Haraszti, OSCE High Representative on Freedom of the Media.

The Observatory calls upon the Russian authorities to put an end to the judicial harassment against Mr. Oleg Orlov, and to conform in all circumstances with the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as international and regional human rights instruments ratified by the Russian Federation.”  (

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