16 September 2023, 17:51
Witnesses tell the court about Orlov's human rights work in Dagestan and Chechnya
At the trial, the defence witnesses have recalled the role of Oleg Orlov and of the "Memorial" he heads in the case of the Gasanguseinov brothers killed by law enforcers in Dagestan, and his work during the military campaigns in Chechnya.
About 60 people came to the fifth session of the Golovinsky District Court of Moscow that considers the case of Oleg Orlov, a co-chairman of the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial"*, accused of discrediting the army; but the court marshals did not allow most of the visitors into the courtroom. Murtazali Gasanguseinov, the father of the shepherd brothers shot dead by law enforcers in Dagestan, has also come to the court session. He said that he had arrived to testify in Oleg Orlov's defence.
The reason for charging Oleg Orlov was a Russian translation of his article posted on Facebook**; the article initially appeared in the French edition "Mediapart". The article condemns the Russia's special military operation in Ukraine.
"I am the father of my innocently murdered sons ... Wherever I appealed, they told me: 'Your sons made an attempt on the life of law enforcers; they were killed by return fire'... Then I turned to the HRC 'Memorial'*; and immediately they recognized me as the suffered party. They did everything possible to remove the stigma of militants from my sons, and prove to the whole world that the Gasanguseinov brothers were not terrorists, but ordinary shepherds," Mr Gasanguseinov has stated.
He has also noted that he disagrees with the opinion that human rights defenders are conducting any anti-Russian activities. The HRC "Memorial"* helped many people, Murtazali Gasanguseinov has emphasized.
The prosecutor who is running the case treats the advocacy as an anti-state activity, Svetlana Gannushkina***, a human rights defender, has stated.
Igor Kalyapin, a Former head of the "Committee against Torture" (CaT)****, said that the CaT worked with the HRC "Memorial"* to achieve setting up a division at the Investigating Committee of the Russian Federation (ICRF) that would investigate the crimes committed by law enforcers.
Elena Milashina, a journalist of the "Novaya Gazeta", has also mentioned the work of Orlov and the HRC "Memorial"* in Chechnya, in particular the Hot Spots programme, which documented human rights violations during and after the military campaigns in Chechnya.
*On December 29, 2021, by the decision of the Moscow City Court, the Russian legal entities of the "International Memorial" and the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial" were liquidated. Activists of the organizations have reported that both organizations will continue their work without forming legal entities.
**On March 21, 2022, the Tverskoi Court of Moscow banned the activities in Russia of the Meta Company, owning the Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, in connection with extremist activities.
***Included by the Russian Ministry of Justice (MoJ) into the register of foreign agents.
****The "Team against Torture" (TaT, formerly the "Committee against Torture" – CaT) was created by the lawyers who had earlier worked for the CaT, which was included into the register of the NCOs performing the functions of foreign agents.
Source: Caucasian Knot