Russia: Oleg Orlov, co-founder of the NGO Memorial prosecuted for "discrediting" the army

Oleg Orlov, co-founder of the Russian NGO Memorial, on March 21, 2023 in Moscow. © AP

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Oleg Orlov, a leading human rights figure in Russia, accused of discrediting the army. The co-founder of the NGO Memorial, dissolved at the end of 2021, has never stopped denouncing the invasion of Ukraine. The judiciary launched a judicial investigation against him. Earlier in the day, police conducted a wave of searches at the homes of many former Memorial employees.


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Two days after the invasion of Ukraine on February 26, Oleg Orlov was on the streets in Moscow denouncing what the Kremlin called a special operation. Since then, the co-founder of Mémorial has never given up speaking out. He has been arrested and convicted several times and is banned from leaving Russian territory.

Today's prosecution of him for "public activities aimed at discrediting" the military forces could deprive him of his liberty for a long time. A 70-year-old figure in the struggle for human rights and pacifism, Oleg Orlov had largely contributed to denouncing the abuses committed by the Russian army in Chechnya.


Police searched his home on Tuesday. Eight other people linked to Memorial, including its president Ian Ratchinski, were also targeted. This police raid follows a judicial investigation launched at the beginning of the month against the association, which is accused of "rehabilitation of Nazism". According to Memorial, the authorities accuse him of including in his list of victims of Soviet repression the names of three people who were allegedly convicted of "treason" or collaboration with the Nazi regime. Allegations described as "idiotic" by Oleg Orlov.

Founded in 1989, the NGO Memorial has documented the crimes of the USSR for more than 30 years, gathering archives, mounting exhibitions and pressuring the state to acknowledge its responsibility. At the same time, she fought for the defense of victims of human rights violations across Russia, particularly in the Caucasus. In October 2022, she was co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.


And with AFP)

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