Court hearing starts with violations

The trial against Oleg Orlov, chairperson of our partner organization Memorial in Russia, started with serious violations. Civil Rights Defenders considers this to be another sign that the courts in Russia are politically controlled.

-It is significant that this trial, which shouldn’t have taken place in first place, starts with violations. For some time now the president of Russia, Dmitrrij Medvedev, has been talking about strengthening the rule of law in Russia, but we are still waiting for him to translate his words into action, says Joanna Kurosz, Programme Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia at Civil Rights Defenders.

The charge against Oleg Orlov is based on his statement after the death of the human rights defender Natalia Estemirova, when Orlov suggested that the Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov and his regime are behind Estemirova’s murder. A civil court has already ordered Orlov has already to pay damages.

The Chechen President Kadyrov, who is the plaintiff in the trial, is accusing Orlov of slander. The trial against Orlov began in Moscow in September. Several violations of the Russian Code of Criminal Procedure already took place on the first day of the trial.

The defense lawyer of Orlov made a complaint that Kadyrov’s attorney, Krasnenkov, had been interrogated as a witness in the investigation. According to the Russian Code of Criminal Procedure this would mean that Krasnenkov would be barred from further representing his client. The judge withdrew for almost two hours only to announce that Krasnenkov had not been heard as a witness and is allowed to continue to represent Kadyrov.

When the accused, Orlov, proclaimed that the charges against him were unclear to him, the judge herself – taking over the prosecutor’s role- began to explain the accusation. Not until Orlov’s defense lawyer objected to this, began the prosecutor began to explain the charges. Orlov has stated not to agree with the accusations.

Categories: News.
Tags: Memorial, Natalia Estemirova, Oleg Orlov, and Ramzan Kadyrov.
Regions: Russia.