Imprisoned environmentalist, Evgeny Vitishko, becomes courtyard sweeper in penal colony

posted 1 Apr 2014, 13:54 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 1 Apr 2014, 14:05 ]
31 March 2014

Source: (info
Environmentalist Evgeny Vitishko, sentenced to 3 years in a penal colony on charges of damaging the fence of a dacha linked to the governor of Krasnodar region, and in prison in Tambov region, has answered questions posed by internet publication, Gazeta.Ru.

Vitishko said that he was taken from a special reception cell in Tupas to Krasnodar detention centre, and kept in a block reserved for special offenders awaiting investigation or sentencing. According to Vitishko, he heard how prisoners were badly beaten, and wrote a statement to that effect, Radio Svoboda reports, citing

From Volgpgrad, Vitishko was taken to a solitary confinement cell in Voronezh, thence to a penal colony in Tambov and, after a few days, to another colony in the village of Sadovy, Tambov region.

Currently, Vitishko is in a detachment of 116 men, and has agreed to work as a courtyard sweeper. He also intends to help other prisoners to submit complaints, legal documents, and to appeal court verdicts. Evgeny Vitishko has made no plans for the next 3 years, but he intends to continue trying to prove that the sentence imposed on him and his colleague, Suren Gazaryan, is unjust.

In summer 2012, environmentalists Evgeny Vitishko and Suren Gazaryan, who later emigrated to Estonia, were each given 3-year suspended sentences for spray-painting the fence of a dacha linked to the governor of Krasnodar Province, Aleksandr Tkacheva. At the end of December 2013, this suspended sentence was replaced by a real one. Amnesty International has recognised Vitishko as a prisoner of conscience.

Translated by Nathalie Corbett