MOSCOW, October 14 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian rights group Memorial appealed on Wednesday against a Moscow court's decision ordering it to pay libel damages to Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, the organization said in a statement.
Memorial Director Oleg Orlov had accused Kadyrov of involvement in the murder of rights activist Natalya Estemirova in the troubled North Caucasus republic in July.
Kadyrov filed a libel suit against the Memorial and Orlov, and the court ordered that a total of 70,000 rubles ($2,350) be paid to Kadyrov in damages.
"Today, on October 14, the defendants filed an appeal against the court's order. They ask for the order to be withdrawn," the statement published on the organization's website said.
Estemirova, a leading Memorial researcher in Chechnya, was abducted outside her home in Grozny, Chechnya's capital, on July 15 and found shot dead in the neighboring republic of Ingushetia later the same day.
Her murder, which sparked international outrage, was followed three weeks later by the killings of Zarema Sadulayeva and her husband, Alik Dzhabrailov, who both worked for a Chechen charity.
In the aftermath of the discovery of Estemirova's body, Orlov said : "I know, I am certain who is to blame for the murder of Natasha Estemirova. We all know this person. His name is Ramzan Kadyrov, the president of the Chechen Republic."
Orlov later said he had referred to Kadyrov's overall responsibility as president for the situation in the republic. He refused, however, to retract his statement.
Kadyrov had sought 10 million rubles ($320,000) in libel damages, but the court ruled that Orlov must pay 20,000 rubles and Memorial 50,000.
A former separatist who fought against Russia in the First Chechen War, Kadyrov and his security services have often been accused of human rights abuses. He denies the allegations.