Target: Yurii Yakovlevich Chaika, Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation
Goal: Drop charges against a woman arrested over posts on her private social media account.
Yekaterina Vologzheninova, a retail worker from Yekaterinburg, Russia, has been arrested and charged with “inciting hatred and enmity” following a series of posts she shared on her private social media account. If convicted, she could face up to five years in prison. Sign the petition and urge Russian authorities to drop the charges against her.
Following the annexation of Crimea, which violates international law, Vologzheninova shared a number of articles, images, and other media criticizing the annexation on her account through the Russian social media site VKontakte. Her privacy settings made the account visible only to her friends, yet she was arrested and charged with “publicly inciting hatred or enmity as well as denigrating human dignity.” Amnesty International reports that authorities involved “psycholinguistic expertise” in the investigation to analyze Vologzheninova’s language and prove that her intent was specifically to incite hatred (rather than to simply and peacefully express her own political views).
A peaceful expression of political views is a universally-recognized human right. Vologzheninova’s arrest violates her freedom of speech, making her a prisoner of conscience. It is imperative that her impending trial be halted and the charges against her be dropped immediately.
Dear Prosecutor General Chaika,
I am writing to express my disbelief and disgust at the treatment of Yekaterina Vologzheninova, a woman from Yekaterinburg who has been accused of “publicly inciting hatred or enmity as well as denigrating human dignity” as a result of several posts she shared on her VKontakte social media account. She is a prisoner of conscience; therefore, the charges against her must be dropped immediately.
Following the annexation of Crimea, Vologzheninova shared several articles, images, and other media that were critical of the annexation. Her profile’s privacy settings were such that only her friends could see the posts, making this far from the “public” statement her charges would imply.
Vologzheninova, like everyone else, is entitled to her universally-recognized right to freedom of speech. As long as her views are peacefully expressed, she should have no reason to fear recourse from her own government. I demand that her impeding trial be halted, charges against her be dropped, and that she be released from jail immediately and unconditionally.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Connor Tarter