Chairperson of Memorial acquitted of libel

On June 14 a Russian court acquitted Oleg Orlov, Chairperson of Memorial Human Rights Centre, on charges of libel against Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov.

The case against Orlov was based on his statement after the death of his colleague, human rights defender Natalya Estemirova, when Orlov suggested that President Kadyrov and his regime are behind Estemirova’s murder.

”The acquittal of Orlov is a victory for freedom of speech and for the important work of human rights defenders in Russia.” said Marie Månson, Programme Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia on receiving the good news but continued to urge the authorities to bring the perpetrators behind Estemirova’s murder before justice.

Estemirova, who was the head of Memorial’s Grozny office, was abducted from her home in Grozny on July 15, 2009, and later that day found killed in neighbouring Ingushetia. President Kadyrov had previously threatened Estemirova.

In the statement after Estemirovas death Orlov wrote that Memorial had been aware that their latest investigations into new abductions, unlawful executions and public killings in a Chechen village had provoked the anger of high level Chechen officials. Earlier a civil court already ordered Orlov to pay damages for making the same statement.

More information about the case:

http://www.memo.ru/2009/11/03/sudeng.html

http://www.rferl.org/content

http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/15324

Categories: News.
Tags: libel, Memorial, and Oleg Orlov.
Regions: Russia.