#FreeVitishko: Prisoner of conscience Evgeny Vitishko applies for parole

posted 21 Feb 2015, 02:51 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 21 Feb 2015, 03:10 ]
17 February 2015

Source: HRO.org (info)
According to the lawyer Sergei Loktev (as reported by RAPSI), the defence team acting on behalf of the environmental activist Evgeny Vitishko has submitted a parole application to the Kirsanovsky district court in Tambov region.

"Evgeny has already served one third of his sentence, which means that he is entitled to apply for parole. I submitted an application to the court today, and Evgeny will do the same tomorrow. The two applications will subsequently be examined by the court as a single case, with a decision to be expected by late February or early March," said the lawyer.

In 2012 Evgeny Vitishko was given a three-year suspended sentence for damaging a fence around an estate believed by conservationists to house the dacha of Aleksandr Tkachev (governor of the Kuban region). The sentence was later changed by Tuapse City Court to three years’ imprisonment in a penal colony.

The alleged crime for which Vitishko was found guilty took place in November 2011. According to the investigators, he and another environmental activist, Suren Gazaryan, painted slogans on a metal fence running through the forest. The pair also demolished a section of the fence in order to enter the territory which they believe should be freely accessible to everyone by law.

The environmentalists said the slogans were painted on the fence surrounding “Tkachev’s dacha”, which they claimed had been built on land illegally acquired, and in which pine trees listed in the Red Book had been chopped down.

The regional administration’s press service has rebutted claims that the dacha and the surrounding plot belong to the head of the Krasnodar region.

Memorial Human Rights Centrehas recognized Evgeny Vitishko as a political prisoner. Amnesty International has named him a prisoner of conscience.

Translated by Joanne Reynolds