Jailed Russian rights veteran Orlov denounces ‘mass repression’ in court hearing

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Oleg Orlov, a veteran Russian human rights campaigner serving a two-and-a-half-year prison sentence for speaking out against the war in Ukraine, told a court hearing on Thursday he stood by his denunciation of “mass repression” in Russia.

Orlov, the 71-year-old co-chair of rights group Memorial, was found guilty in February of discrediting the Russian army after he protested against the war and wrote an article accusing President Vladimir Putin of leading the country into fascism.

“I have no remorse or regrets. I am in the right place at the right time,” he told the packed courtroom in Moscow, speaking by video link from a detention centre about 750 km (470 miles) away.

“When there is mass repression in the country, I am there alongside those who are persecuted, and in this way I help…” Orlov continued, before the sound was cut from his video.

Orlov’s supporters have voiced concern about the state of his health, and his defence team has filed complaints saying that the conditions of his detention and transportation amount to cruel and degrading treatment.

(Reporting by Reuters; Writing by Lucy Papachristou; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)


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