24 December 2013
Source: HRO.org (info)
Amnesty International declared that in spite of the release of prisoners of conscience, the suppression of civil society in Russia continues.
The international human rights organization has long campaigned for the immediate and unconditional release of prisoners of conscience freed recently under the amnesty signed by President Vladimir Putin. However, several other prisoners being tried in connection with the 2012 Bolotnaya Square protests remain behind bars.
“The release of businessman Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Pussy riot singers Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, and a handful of Bolotnaya case detainees should not been seen as a benign act of clemency, but a politically expedient move in the run up to the Sochi Olympics,” said Sergei Nikitin, head of the Russian branch of Amnesty International.
“The move is further proof of the politicization of justice in Russia. It should not obscure the bigger truth that the last year has seen a significant contraction in the space allowed to critical and independent voices. Those that have been released were imprisoned solely for expressing their views. While they are now free, the charges against them remain. The amnesty is no substitute for an effective justice system.”
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