Save Vladimir Bukovsky
The UK Crown Prosecution Service may have been duped by the Russian authorities into indicting Russian dissident and former Soviet political prisoner Vladimir Bukovsky. The CPS has accused him for having taken or obtained indecent photographs of children. The indictment was issued a year ago today [27 April 2015].
To clear his name, Bukovsky took the step of suing for defamation. A week ago, on 20 April, he went on a hunger strike. He objects to the “persistent and deliberate campaign of slander, vilification and persecution” against him. He is 73 years old and recently underwent heart surgery, yet he announced that he will continue the hunger strike until “the High Court finally finds time to hear my complaint”.
We, the signatories to this petition, are former Soviet political prisoners, their relatives and descendants. We consider Bukovsky a man of gigantic moral stature. He was an opposition candidate in Russia’s 2008 presidential elections but the Russian government disqualified him from running. A neurophysiologist and prolific author, Bukovsky was a leading opponent of the Soviet regime who spent twelve years of his life in prisons, labour camps, and psychiatric hospitals. In 1976, after intense pressure from Western human rights groups and diplomats, the Soviets expelled him. He was granted UK citizenship and settled in Cambridge. From there he continued to oppose the Soviet Union and remains an ardent critic of Putin’s Russia.
Imagine the tragedy now if Bukovsky were to die before his case is heard. It would bring shame on the United Kingdom and its institutions for unduly delaying justice. Bukovsky was a friend of Alexander Litvinenko, who was assassinated in 2006 on British soil. In that case, the Home Office’s official inquiry established “a strong circumstantial case that the Russian State was responsible… and [that the order to kill Bukovsky] was probably approved by … President Putin”. It seems to us that this time around the UK government is being misled into doing the Russian henchmen’s dirty work for them.
We appeal to all just and fair-minded people of Britain to bring pressure to bear on the UK government and the CPS by demanding an immediate independent review of Bukovsky’s case.
- Departmental Ministry of Justice, London SW1H9AJ
Save Vladimir Bukovsky
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