ACT FOR THE RELEASE OF RUSSIAN POLITICAL PRISONER EVGENY VITISHKO
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Yevgeny Vitishko is a distinguished geologist and environmental activist from the Sochi region in Russia. Together with the organisation to which he belongs, Environmental Watch on North Caucasus (EWNC), he has worked to document and protest against the severe destruction of ecological systems in and aorund Sochi in connection with the Olympic games. According to a detailed report from EWNC, Russia has not kept promises made concerning environment issues. In 2011, Vitishko participated in a peaceful protest against an illegal building project in a protected area in the Sochi region and was sentenced to three years in a prison labour camp. His last appeal has now been rejected and he will definitely be imprisioned. During the Olympic Games in Sochi, Vitishko was to inform international journalists about the results of EWNC:s report, see above. However, he was prevented from doing so, as local authorities in his home town Tuapse put him in detention for two weeks during the Olympic games for "swearing at a bus stop". Directly after his Tuapse arrest, he will be sent off to serve his three-year sentence. The SOK and the IOC need to make every effort to support Vitishkos cause. The International Olympic Committee should urge Russia’s authorities to free Vitishko, Human Rights Watch says: “The case against Vitishko has been politically motivated from the start,” accordning to Yulia Gorbunova, researcher at Human Rights Watch. “When the authorities continued to harass him it became clear they were trying to silence and exact retribution against certain persistent critics of the preparations for the Olympics.” Amnesty International has defined Vitishko as a prisoner of conscience.
Human Rights Watch: “When the authorities continued to harass him it became clear they were trying to silence and exact retribution against certain persistent critics of the preparations for the Olympics.”
To The Swedish Olympic Committee, Sofiatornet Olympiastadion, S-114 33 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone +46 8 402 6800
Fax +46 8 402 6818
President Mr Stefan LINDEBERG
Secretary General Mrs Gunilla LINDBERG
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