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Chechnya president files criminal libel suit against Memorial rights activist: reports

[JURIST] A lawyer for Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov [JURIST news archive] said Tuesday that a criminal libel suit has been filed against the leader of human rights group Memorial [advocacy website, in Russian], according to media reports. Oleg Orlov, who accused Kadyrov of responsibility for the July death of Memorial journalist Natalia Estemirova [JURIST report], could face a maximum sentence of three years in prison. Orlov already lost a civil suit filed by Kadyrov, and must pay USD $2,300 in fines and remove his accusation [AP report] from Memorial's website. The charges come less than a week after Orlov won the prestigious Sakharov Award from the European Union for his work with Memorial.

Less than a month after Estemirova's death, Chechen human rights activist Zarema Sadulayeva and her husband Alik Dzhabrailov were found dead [JURIST report] in the trunk of their car. Saulayeva and Dzhabrailov were taken [Moscow Times report] from the office of her organization, Let's Save the Generation, which works to aid children affected by violence in Chechnya. The recent violence has reportedly caused Russian human rights activists to leave the region [JURIST report], with Memorial closing its Chechen offices after Estemirova's death.

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