Russia: Oleg Orlov, imprisoned following appeal against sham trial, must be released

Responding to the news that Oleg Orlov, a prominent human rights defender, has been sentenced to two years and six months in prison following an appeal hearing against his earlier conviction and fine, Natalia Zviagina, Amnesty International’s Russia Director, said:

“Oleg Orlov, co-chair of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning organization Memorial, has been convicted under the newly instituted ‘crime’ of ‘repeatedly discrediting’ the Russian Armed Forces and sentenced to two years and eleven months in a penal colony.

“Today’s sentencing of Orlov is the result of a sham trial enacted by the Russian authorities to punish a prominent state critic and instil fear among those who dare to speak up against the war in Ukraine. Orlov’s prosecution forms part of the authorities’ unrelenting campaign of repression against those who peacefully express dissenting views.

“Oleg Orlov is a prisoner of conscience. He must be immediately and unconditionally released and all of his criminal convictions should be quashed. ‘War censorship’ laws fly in the face of Russia’s obligations under international human rights law. The authorities must scrap them, and all those detained for peacefully protesting against Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine must be released.”


On 8 June, the Golovinsky District Court in Moscow began considering the criminal case against Orlov, who was charged with “discrediting the Russian Armed Forces”. Orlov served as co-chair of the Memorial Human Rights Centre, which was liquidated in February 2022.

Amnesty International along with 32 human rights organizations have today condemned Moscow’s Golovinsky District Court’s sentencing of Oleg Orlov.