April 28, 2023The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in the Russian Federation.
The Observatory has received information about the judicial harassment of Mr Oleg Orlov, co-chair of Memorial Human Rights Center (HRC “Memorial”), a member organisation of FIDH. A prominent figure in the defence of human rights in Russia, Mr Orlov was awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Expression, and in 2012 the Moscow Helsinki Group Award for his “historic contribution to the defence of human rights and the human rights movement”.On April 29, 2023, Oleg Orlov will be presented with a final accusation report by the Russian Investigative Committee, in Moscow and in the presence of his lawyer for the charge of “public actions aimed at discrediting the use of armed forces of the Russian Federation (Article 280.3(1) of the Criminal Code). This report will then be sent to the Koptevskiy District Court in Moscow, which will schedule a date for the trial. Orlov was formally charged in early April 2023 for his involvement in anti-war movements.
The judicial harassment of Oleg Orlov is another blow to the Russian human rights organisation Memorial, which had been dissolved by the authorities in December 2021, which was later confirmed in appeal in April 2022. It is also part of a broader crackdown on anti-war protesters who oppose the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Observatory recalls that in 2022, Orlov was fined five times for holding solitary anti-war demonstrations. Two of these convictions were under the law on “discrediting the army” (Article 20.3.3 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation).
The Observatory strongly condemns the criminal proceedings against Oleg Orlov, calls on the Russian authorities to drop all charges against him and to stop all acts of harassment, including at the administrative and judicial levels, against him and all human rights defenders and organisations in Russia.
Please write to the authorities of Russia, urging them to:
- Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Oleg Orlov and all human rights defenders in the country;
- Drop all charges and put an immediate end to all act of harassment, including at the judicial and administrative levels, against Oleg Orlov, as well as against all human rights defenders in the country;
- Guarantee, in all circumstances, the rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association, as enshrined in international human right law, and particularly in Articles 19, 21 and 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
• Mr. Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, Twitter: @KremlinRussia_E
• Mr. Mikhail Mishustin, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Twitter:@GovernmentRF
• Mr. Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, E-mail: email@example.com
• Mr. Igor Krasnov, General Prosecutor of the Russian Federation, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Mr. Alexander Bortnikov, Director of Federal Security Service (FSS), Email: email@example.com
• Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Embassy of the Russian Federation in Brussels, Belgium. E-mail: email@example.com
• Permanent Representation of the Russian Federation to the Council of Europe, France. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please also write to the diplomatic representations of the Russian Federation in your respective countries.
Paris-Geneva, April 28, 2023
Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.