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European Court Says Russian State Behind 2007 Attack On Rights Defender

Russian rights activist Oleg Orlov (file photo)
Russian rights activist Oleg Orlov (file photo)

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that the Russian state was behind an attack on a prominent rights defender and three journalists in 2007, and ordered Moscow to compensate them for "illegal freedom deprivation and torture."

The ECHR's March 14 ruling says that Russian security services were involved in the attack on the leader of the Moscow-based Memorial Human Rights Center, Oleg Orlov, and a crew from Russian channel REN-TV.

Orlov and a crew from REN-TV were in the North Caucasus region of Ingushetia to cover protests over the death of a child during a security operation. They said that unidentified men in military uniforms rushed into their hotel in the city of Nazran, abducted them, beat them, and threatened to kill them if they ever came to Ingushetia again.

"Given that the [Russian] Government [has] advanced no plausible explanation for the events in question, the Court finds that the persons who took the applicants from the hotel to the field... and subjected them to ill-treatment on the night of 23 November 2007 were State agents," the ruling said.

Authorities in Ingushetia dropped their investigation into the attack in 2008. Orlov and the journalists filed the lawsuit with the ECHR in 2012.

The ECHR also ruled that Russia must pay the men 84,000 euros ($89,700) in compensation for the "illegal freedom deprivation and torture" that it said was not properly investigated by the officials.

With reporting by and
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