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Moscow Officials Won’t Press Kadyrov’s Suit Against Chechen Activist

Oleg Orlov, the head of the Memorial human rights group
Oleg Orlov, the head of the Memorial human rights group
MOSCOW – The Moscow City Interior Affairs Department (GUVD) has decided not to launch an investigation against the head of the Memorial human rights center, Oleg Orlov, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Moscow-backed Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov has filed a lawsuit against Orlov accusing him of "libel and insulting his honor and dignity." Kadyrov demanded a public apology and the equivalent of $316,000 in compensation.

Orlov had accused Kadyrov of being behind the murder of prominent Chechen rights activist Natalya Estemirova, who worked for Memorial. Estemirova was found murdered in Ingushetia on July 15, just hours after she was kidnapped in the Chechen capital, Grozny.

Orlov's lawyer Genri Reznik told RFE/RL that the GUVD’s decision not to launch investigations against his client means the accusation of libel has been dropped.

The second accusation, of insulting honor and dignity, is not a criminal matter, and a decision on that charge will be made later.