Russia designates human rights campaigner as 'foreign agent'

FILE PHOTO: Russian rights activist Orlov attends an appeal hearing in Moscow

(Reuters) - Russia's Justice Ministry has designated Oleg Orlov, a veteran Russian human rights campaigner, a "foreign agent", the ministry said on Friday.

The foreign agent designation requires that people and entities on the list place a disclaimer on items they publish and imposes strict financial reporting and self-disclosure requirements.

Orlov, 70, has been for more than two decades one of the leaders of the Memorial human rights group, which won a share of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2022 -- a year after it was banned and dissolved in Russia.

Orlov is fighting charges of "discrediting" Russia's armed forces. In October he was fined in a case based on an article in which he wrote that Russia under President Vladimir Putin had descended into fascism.

He appealed against that verdict and prosecutors then sought a three-year jail sentence, accusing him of "political hatred of Russia", something he denies.

In December, a Moscow court ordered a retrial in Orlov's case on a legal technicality after prosecutors shifted their position.

(Reporting by Maxim Rodionov; Editing by Leslie Adler)