Target: Yurii Ya. Chaika, Prosecutor-General
Goal: Prevent the imprisonment of environmental activist Yevgeniy Vitishko, who was sentenced following an unfair trial
Yevgeniy Vitishko, who is currently serving a two-year suspended sentence as a result of his environmental activism, could face up to three years in a prison camp for alleged violations of his curfew. Sign the petition and pressure the Russian government to pursue justice, not harassment.
Vitishko, who is a member of Environment Watch for North Caucasus (Ecologicheskaya Vakhta po Severnomu Kavkazu), spoke out strongly against the construction of a fence through a protected forest near Sochi. He and several other activists went to the site of the fence to document the violation (and the other construction going on behind it). In the process, Vitishko bent down sections of the fence to allow for a video recording of the construction, Amnesty International reports, while some other activists graffitied the fence.
Vitishko’s lawyers have appealed his case, and the Supreme Court recently ruled that Vitishko had received an unfair trial, noting that the court did not take into account the illegality of the fence and did not prove criminal intent on Vitishko’s part. Nevertheless, a lower court has ruled that Vitishko violated the terms of his suspended sentence and should thus be imprisoned. Do not allow such a disgusting miscarriage of justice. Sign the petition and demand that Russian authorities review Yevgeniy Vitishko’s case.
I am writing in regards to the case of Yevgeniy Vitishko, who faces a three-year prison sentence over alleged violations of the terms of his suspended sentence. I urge you to revoke the court’s request that Vitishko be imprisoned, and I demand that the original case against him be subjected to a thorough review.
Vitishko’s lawyers have contended throughout the proceedings of Vitishko’s case that the trial was unfair and handled poorly, and the Supreme Court agrees; it found that the initial trial failed to address the illegality of the fence Vitishko was accused of damaging, failed to prove “whether the party which had allegedly suffered the damage was indeed the appropriate party,” and did not take into account criminal intent (or lack thereof) on Vitishko’s part, Amnesty International reports.
Despite all this, the lower courts have requested that Vitishko be imprisoned for violations of his two-year suspended sentence–a sentence that should be declared null and void given the unfair trial proceedings that bestowed it upon him in the first place.
As the eyes of the global community turn to Russia for the Sochi Olympics, I demand justice. Deny the request to imprison Yevgeniy Vitishko, and launch a thorough review of his entire court proceedings.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Shakko via Wikimedia Commons