Drop Charges Against Threatened Activist

luis argerich

Target: Colonel General Igor Kolosov, Head of the Regional Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation for Krasnodar Region

Goal: Drop charges against a political activist and protect freedom of expression in Russia.

A longtime political activist has been jailed for posts she made on social media. The charges against her have been preceded by a string of arrests for similar “offenses” and by alleged persecution and threats. Sign the petition and demand that Russia respect its citizens’ rights to freedom of speech and expression.

Darya Poliudova was arrested over images and other content that she posted on VKontakte, a Russian social media site. One photo showed her holding a sign that read “No war in Ukraine but a revolution in Russia,” while others depicted a satirical use of swastikas. The displaying of swastikas in public is illegal in Russia, although “the legislation does not distinguish between their propaganda and satirical use,” Amnesty International points out.

Darya Poliudova has been arrested and detained numerous times, leading to dismissal from her job as legal counsel for a hospital. She has worked other jobs since, but she has lost them due to her detentions. In one instance, she was reportedly fired after the police contacted her employer. She had done nothing illegal to prompt the call.

In the days leading up to her arrest, Poliudova also reported receiving a series of threatening messages from someone who seemed to have her and her family under surveillance. Her reports to the police have yielded no results.

Darya Poliudova has the right to peacefully express her political views free of harassment, persecution, and arrest. Sign the petition and demand her immediate release.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Colonel General Kolosov,

Freedom of speech is one of the most fundamental human rights. It is therefore incredibly disheartening to witness the harassment, persecution, and numerous arrests and detentions suffered by Darya Poliudova, a peaceful political activist who has done nothing more than express a dissenting political belief. I demand that the charges against her be dropped and I call for an end to the campaign of harassment toward her.

Poliudova’s most recent arrest came as a result of content she posted on social media, including an image of her holding a sign that read “No war in Ukraine but a revolution in Russia.” She has been an outspoken critic of the annexation of the Crimea and has been arrested several times for that reason. As a result, she lost her job as legal counsel for a hospital and has had difficulty holding a position since. In one case, she was allegedly fired after the police made contact with her employer. The contact was not prompted by any illegal or suspicious actions on Poliudova’s part.

In the weeks leading up to her arrest, Poliudova also reported receiving a series of threatening messages. Although she reported them to the police, nothing has been done.

I urge you to respect the right to freedom of expression. Darya Poliudova has done nothing more than peacefully assert her views, and she does not deserve jail time for that. Drop the charges against her and release her as soon as possible.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Luis Argerich

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