Press Releases


Prison sentence against Oleg Orlov

Standing firm in the face of appalling injustice

The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) is in dismay over the verdict against Russian human rights activist Oleg Orlov, which was announced in Moscow today. “The trial against Oleg Orlov is reminiscent of the political show trials of the Soviet era. Obviously controlled prosecution witnesses and fabricated evidence make a conviction a formality. Under these circumstances, it is no wonder that Orlov refused to engage in the unfair trial,” stated STP expert Nora Erdmann immediately after the pronouncement of judgment. “It is all the more admirable how convincingly Orlov used his closing statement to expose the pseudo-legal absurdity of these proceedings.”

Yesterday, in his closing statement in court, Orlov emphasized: “I haven’t committed any crimes. In this day and age, however, it would be naive to hope for an acquittal – but I am not sorry, and I don’t have any regrets.” His complete closing statement (in German) can be found here.

Today, Orlov was sentenced to two years and six months in prison. He was handcuffed while still in the courtroom. The charge was “political and ideological hatred against the Russian Federation” – but the 70-year-old had merely criticized Russia’s attack on Ukraine. Orlov had been added to the register of “foreign agents” in the course of the proceedings, which made his defense almost impossible. The trial was initially based on charges of “discrediting the Russian army” and has been ongoing since June 8, 2023. After being sentenced to a fine, he filed an appeal. So did the public prosecutor, who extended the charges and demanded a prison sentence. 

With his organization Memorial, the Russian human rights advocate was honored with the Viktor Gollancz Prize of the Society for Threatened Peoples (in 2009) and with the Nobel Peace Prize (in 2022).