Criminal Prosecution of Oleg Orlov Discontinued

Friday, January, 20, 2012, the criminal proceeding for libel against the Chairman of Human Rights Centre Memorial”, Oleg Orlov, was discontinued. Owing to the fact that libel was reclassified as civic violation, the judge Andrey Lutov offered an option to discontinue the criminal case to the parties involved. The victim’s representative, Andrey Krasnenkov, claimed that it is necessary to investigate the case substantially and discontinue it only in the aftermath. Lawyer Henry Reznik referring to the resolution by the Constitutional Court noted that in the given case only the defense is in position to insist that the investigation of the case is continued, in case it needs rehabilitation. “Oleg Petrovich and I have received moral satisfaction from the ‘not guilty’ verdict. Oleg Petrovich does not need rehabilitation,”- Reznik said. He considered that the case to be discontinued.

The court decided that the ‘not guilty’ verdict by the court of the first instance is to be repealed and criminal proceeding against Oleg Orlov is to be discontinued. This decision can be appealed in Moscow city court within 10 days.

Oleg Orlov comments, “Like I said multiple times, the criminal case against me ended with nothing, or, more specifically, with ‘not guilty’ verdict.

On the whole, I’m glad that the case has been initiated and investigated. We managed to outline and argue our position in the court, including the issues of the continual human rights violations and persecution of human rights activists in Chechnya.

No one has expected the verdict ‘not guilty’ to be delivered by the court of the first instance, but due to the fairness of judge Morozova the absolutely sentence was delivered.

Everything we did in the court, both me and my colleagues, we did also in memory of our friend Natasha Estemirova”.

Let us remind that the grounds for initiation of criminal case against Orlov in accordance with part 3 of Art. 129 (libel) of the Criminal Code of the RF was Orlov’s comment that the head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, is responsible for the murder of “Memorial” officer, Natalya Estemirova, on July, 15, 2009.

The criminal case was initiated on October, 20, 2009. It took the court of first instance 15 hearings, during which 20 witnesses had been questioned, to affirm that the defense was right, and deliver ‘not guilty’ verdict for Orlov on June, 14, 2011.

The victim’s representative and the state prosecutor appealed against the ‘not guilty’ verdict.

Investigation of the appeal by the court of the second instance started on October, 4, 2011. In the course of the three hearings the judge would read out the witnesses’ testimonies. Kadyrov’s representative intended to summon new witnesses and launch a mysterious media campaign. At the same time, President Medvedev implemented a law that decriminalized libel, and on January, 20, the case against Orlov was discontinued.

Information about civil and criminal cases "Kadyrov v. Orlov" see at Memorial's web-site (in English): http://www.memo.ru/2009/11/03/sudeng.html.

January 23, 2012