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Russian human rights defender Oleg Orlov turns 71 in prison

Russian human rights defender Oleg Orlov turns 71 in prison

A prominent Russian human rights advocate who faced imprisonment for openly condemning the war in Ukraine is marking his 71st birthday in jail, where he is reportedly facing harsh treatment from prison authorities.

According to the Memorial, Russia's oldest human rights organisation, Oleg Orlov's health is rapidly declining due to the conditions of his journeys between prison and courtroom.

His wife, Tatiana, expressed concern that these conditions will take a toll on his ability to adequately prepare for his upcoming appeal, saying she is worried he may soon be broken altogether.

Additionally, Orlov's hearing has been affected by strenuous journeys in harsh conditions and a lack of medical treatment.

Memorial's legal team is vigorously working to improve his living conditions and prepare for the upcoming appeal court hearing, which anticipated within a few weeks – though an exact date has not been set by the judges.

For political prisoners in Russia's penal colonies, life is marked by harsh realities including physical and psychological torture, sleep deprivation, inadequate food, limited or denied healthcare, and arbitrary rules.

Orlov maintains his innocence, stating that he is being prosecuted for expressing his views in a newspaper article where he criticised Russia's current political regime as totalitarian and fascist.

He emphasised this in his final statement in court on February 27, 2024.