Court to consider acquittal of human rights activist for slander on Kadyrov

MOSCOW, August 8 (Itar-Tass) —— Moscow’s Khamovniki Court on Monday will consider the legitimacy of the court award which recognized Memorial human rights center head Oleg Orlov not guilty of slandering Chechnya head Ramzan Kadyrov. The plaintiff requests the court to recall the sentence and remit the case for a new examination.

The head of the Memorial human rights centre is accused of “a slander” on Kadyrov by claiming his relation to the killing of human rights defender Natalia Estemirova. The Chechen head regards the statement by the Memorial head “a big smear mark on the Kadyrov family”. He said earlier that “Orlov’s accusation defames our honour, conscience and dignity. Therefore, we decided to resort to law”. He told the judge in a videoconference he met Estemirova twice but never criticized or threatened her, just gave her an advice about a TV interview and the wearing of a shawl. “ In his opinion, Estemirova was “a good woman and a mother” but did not refrain from an earlier statement, which said Estemirova “never had honor, dignity or conscience.” “We met and I told her: let us protect people’s rights together. She did not protect people’s rights, she was just chattering,” he said. Kadyrov noted though that Estemirova could have been of use for Chechnya. “She was helping me. Everyone said there was democracy and freedom of speech because Estemirova was freely criticizing the administration of Chechnya. I needed her more than you did. Her death was bad for me,” he said.

In June, the Moscow Magistrates Court found Orlov not guilty of slandering the Chechnya head. The court said there was no evidence to confirm Orlov’s culpability.

The prosecutor insisted that Orlov slandered Kadyrov by claiming his relation to the killing of human rights defender Natalia Estemirova.

The court referred to a linguistic analysis, which said that Orlov’s phrase ‘I know, I am positive I know who is guilty of the murder of Natasha Estemirova’ was merely a value judgment.

At the same time, the judge said this ruling did not exempt Orlov from civil liability under the award of the Moscow Tverskoy District Court, which had sentenced Orlov and Memorial to a fine for alleging Kadyrov’s involvement in the killing of Estemirova.

Estemirova was abducted in Grozny, not far from her home, on July 15, 2009. The body was found on the same day, 100 meters away from the Caucasus federal highway, near the village of Gazi-Yurt in Ingushetia. Detectives explained the killing with her professional activity and an attempt to destabilize Chechnya and Ingushetia.

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