A Russian court sentences the co-chair of a Nobel-winning rights group to 30 months in prison

By Isaac M February 27, 2024

A Moscow court on Tuesday sentenced a veteran human rights advocate who spoke out against the war in Ukraine to two years and six months in prison. He was taken directly into custody from the courtroom.

Oleg Orlov, 70, was convicted of “repeatedly discrediting” the Russian army in an article he wrote denouncing the invasion of Ukraine. He has rejected the case against him as politically motivated.

The prosecution on Monday demanded that he be sentenced to two years and 11 months in prison.

The verdict concluded a retrial after Orlov was earlier ordered to pay a fine. Underscoring how little tolerance President Vladimir Putin’s government has for criticism of its invasion of Ukraine, the prosecution appealed the fine, seeking a harsher punishment.

The prosecution claimed that Orlov, co-chairman of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning human rights group Memorial, published the article motivated by hostility “against traditional Russian spiritual, moral and patriotic values” and hatred of the Russian military, independent Russian news outlet Mediazona said on Tuesday.

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