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Court Hears Chechen Leader's Slander Case Against Rights Activist

Oleg Orlov
Oleg Orlov
A Moscow court has begun hearing the defamation case against human rights activist Oleg Orlov, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Orlov, the head of Memorial, a noted organization investigating rights violations in Chechnya, is accused of slandering Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov.

Orlov has said that Kadyrov bears responsibiltiy for the death of Orlov's former colleague, human rights activist Natalya Estemirova, who was found shot dead in the neighboring republic of Ingushetia in July 2009.

Andrei Krasnenkov, Kadyrov's lawyer, has asked that Orlov be sentenced to three years in prison, the maximum sentence for slander.

Kadyrov has called Memorial an "enemy of the people, an enemy of the law, and an enemy of the state" on Chechen television.