Petition for release of environmentalist Evgeny Vitishko

posted 3 Jul 2014, 03:58 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 3 Jul 2014, 04:02 ]
1 July 2014

Source: (info)
Organisers of the petition calling for the release of environmentalist activist Evgeny Vitishko intend to hand the signatures to the Prosecutor General’s Office, Novaya gazeta writes.

The largest international human rights organisation in the world, Amnesty International, has identified Evgeny Vitishko as a prisoner of conscience. Memorial Human Rights Centre has included Evgeny Vitishko in the list of Russian political prisoners.

Signatures for the release of Evgeny Vitishko are being collected HERE.

“On this website we have been promised support if the petition collects many signatures: it has been promised that information on Vitishko would be sent out from its database and that his legal costs in the European Court of Human Rights would be paid,” explained Evgenya Chirikova, the organiser of the petition. “It is also possible to utilize, however, the State Duma is the organ which we do not wish to appeal to, and moreover Evgeny is completely innocent before the law. The Prosecutor General’s Office is able to release him, and we shall send the petition there. Nowadays the trend is to appeal directly to the President, but in my opinion, this is somehow paternalistic, and the Prosecutor General’s Office is precisely the organ which is responsible for this issue”.

At present Evgeny Vitishko is serving his sentence in a penal colony in Tambov region where, according to Chirikova, threats have been made against him.

“The question of publicity for Vitishko is now a question of his security,” Chirikova believes. “Recently in the colony where he is being held, several prisoners were beaten up. He wrote a statement to the Prosecutor’s Office about this, and now threats are raining down on him. He is an active man who fights for his rights and this type of person is not liked in prison.”

In 2012 Vitishko, together with his colleague Suren Gazaryan, was convicted of writing the inscriptions ‘Common Forest’ and ‘Sanya is a thief’ on the fence of Governor Tkachev’s dacha, and was given a suspended sentence. However, subsequently the suspended sentence was replaced by a prison sentence: Vitishko was accused of having breached the conditions of his probationary period.

Translated by Elisabeth Wright