Jailed chairman of Russian human rights group Memorial offered to join the war in Ukraine



Russian prison authorities have attempted to recruit Oleg Orlov, jailed co-chairman of the Nobel-prize-winning organisation Memorial, to fight in Ukraine, Memorial wrote on Friday.

Orlov, sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for “discrediting the Russian military” last month, refused the recruitment offer.

Memorial said that the prison recruiters were undeterred by the fact that Orlov is 70 years old. The human rights group added that there were reported attempts to recruit other prisoners in the detention centre.

Orlov was ordered to pay a fine of 150,000 rubles (€1,500) in October for “repeatedly discrediting” the Russian military in an anti-war article he wrote entitled “They wanted fascism. They got it.” The Prosecutor General’s Office later appealed the decision, arguing that it was “overly lenient”, and requested a second trial.

Orlov, who was added to the register of “foreign agents” in February, refused to defend himself in the second trial and forbade his lawyers to call defence witnesses to avoid the risk of them being added to the same list. As he was led out of court, Orlov said that his two-year sentence showed that his article was “accurate and truthful”.

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