With the Winter Olympics in place, the world attention is on Sochi and in particular, on the Russian government’s dubious approach to human rights and basic freedoms. Of particular concern is the recent arrest and sentence of Evgeny Vitishko, a member of liberal party Yabloko, who has started a three-year imprisonment for spray painting an illegally constructed fence in the middle of a nature reserve.
Yevgeny Vitishko is a distinguished geologist and environmental activist from the Sochi region in Russia. He is considered to be a consistent critic of the Governor’s anti-ecological policies. Also, being famous for anti-corruption investigation into the activities of the authorities of the Krasnodar Territory. Together with the organization to which he belongs, Environmental Watch on North Caucasus (EWNC), he had been a prominent opponent of the construction of the Olympic park in Sochi and had criticized the damage the building work had done to the local eco-system, in particular the air and water quality.
Liberal Party of Moldova believe that the Russian government has acted in an authoritarian and disproportionate manner, that is why we make this statement in support of this brave man. We hope that pressure placed on the Russian authorities to release Vitishko will have immediate effect.
Moreover, Liberal Party President Mr. Mihai GHIMPU is alarmed by the news that Russian environmentalist and YABLOKO member Evgeny Vitishko is on hunger strike in a prison for the seventh day already, in rather harsh conditions: no heating in winter and anti-sanitary. Mr. Ghimpu said: “It is absolutely obvious that such a tough sentence to the environmentalist has been politically motivated and intends to intimidate the civil society in the region”.
The Liberal Party of Moldova is urging Russia’s federal authorities to pay attention to the lawlessness and arbitrary rule taking place in the Krasnodar region, that cause irreparable reputational damage to the Sochi Winter Olympics.
After examination of the case Amnesty International recognized Vitishko a political prisoner. Vitishko is recognized political prisoner by many Western politicians, such as Guy Verhofstadt, head of the ALDE Group in the European Parliament, and other politicians. Prime Minister of Norway also expressed her concern.
Should you wish to support the release of Evgeny Vitishko, please support the online petition launched by the Swedish Olympic committee: http://www.change.org/petitions/the-swedish-olympic-committee-act-for- the-release-of-russian-political-prisoner-evgeny-vitishko
23 february 2014