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Concerns Grow for Jailed Veteran Rights Campaigner Orlov

Russian human rights activist Oleg Orlov. Sergei Karpukhin / TASS

The Nobel-Prize-winning Memorial human rights group on Monday expressed concern over the condition of its jailed co-founder Oleg Orlov, who was recently imprisoned for criticizing Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

A Russian court in February sentenced Orlov, 70, to two-and-a-half years in prison for "discrediting" the Russian army after he spoke out against the full-scale invasion and the Kremlin.

"His health is threatened with irreversible consequences," Memorial said in a statement Monday, saying Orlov was losing his hearing and had become unwell due to "inhumane treatment" by prison authorities.

"For more than two weeks, his lawyer has not been able to talk with him confidentially," the group added.

Memorial said the conditions of Orlov's incarceration were hampering his efforts to appeal the prison sentence against him.

Created in the late 1980s, Memorial established itself by preserving the memory of victims of communist repression and by campaigning against rights violations.

Russian authorities officially disbanded the organization in late 2021 amid a growing crackdown on dissent.

Orlov decided to remain in Russia despite wartime military repression. 

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