AFP Moscow


Updated Tuesday, February 27, 2024-13:59

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Russian dissident Oleg Orlov, a veteran human rights defender, was sentenced this Tuesday by a Moscow court to two and a half years in prison for his

repeated criticism of the offensive in



Orlov, 70, was part of the

NGO Memorial

, an organization that won the

Nobel Peace Prize in 2022

for its work to preserve the memory of repression during the Soviet era and which was dissolved by Russian justice.

To know more

Nobel Peace Prize 2022.

The Nobel Peace Prize awards human rights activists in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus

  • Editor: XAVIER COLÁS Saint Petersburg

The Nobel Peace Prize awards human rights activists in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus

"The court decided to declare Orlov guilty and sentence him to a sentence of two years and six months (...) in a

penal colony

," the judge announced when reading the verdict, reported an AFP journalist who attended the trial.

After the verdict was read, Orlov, dressed in a thin sweater, winked at his wife Tatiana and said:

"Tania, you promised me

," apparently asking her not to cry.

Dozens of people came to the court to support Orlov

, who was one of the last Kremlin critics who was free and still in Russia, as many have gone into exile.

In his last intervention before the court on Monday, Orlov denounced "the strangulation of freedom" in Russia and the sending of Russian troops to Ukraine.

"I don't regret anything

," he said.

He also criticized the death on February 16 of the opponent Alexei Navalni in an Arctic prison, which he described as "murder" and called on other opponents to "not lose courage."

Orlov never wanted to leave Russia.

A police officer puts handcuffs on Oleg Orlov.ALEXANDER NEMENOV |


"I am more useful here," he told AFP in an interview in mid-February, in which he defended that it

is "important" that there are critical voices that remain in Russia

, despite the systematic repression.

This dissident was found guilty in the first instance in October 2023 for "discrediting" the army and was sentenced to a small fine, a light sentence compared to the usual sentences against other critics of the government.

The Russian justice then decided to appeal the sentence and opened a new process against the dissident.