Sochi environmental activist sent to prison for 3 years

Russia continues to crack down on those trying to expose the truth about Sochi

Topics: 2014 Olympics, sochi, Russia, environmentalists, ,

In yet another sign that Russia is cracking down hard on environmental activists, Yevgeny Vitishko, who in 2012 received a three-year suspended sentence for spray-painting a fence, is now facing prison time.

Vitishko is a member of Environmental Watch on the North Caucasus, a group critical of the 2014 Olympics preparations, which they say caused massive environmental destruction. He was originally arrested for spray-painting a fence as part of an unrelated protest; last week, he was arrested in his hometown after formally filing for permission to travel to Sochi.

Ostensibly, this arrest was also unrelated to his protests — he was found guilty of swearing at a bus stop — but it also prevented him from being able to speak out during the Olympics, and from defending himself at court for the fence charges. According to his lawyer, a Krasnodar court Wednesday converted the suspended sentence into a prison term.



“The case against Vitishko has been politically motivated from the start,” Human Rights Watch said in a statement condemning the ruling. “When the authorities continued to harass him it became clear they were trying to silence and exact retribution against certain persistent critics of the preparations for the Olympics.”

Along with EWNC, Vitishko had been planning to present a report on the environmental damage in Sochi. The group is still hoping to release it later this month.

Lindsay Abrams

Lindsay Abrams is a staff writer at Salon, reporting on all things sustainable. Follow her on Twitter @readingirl, email labrams@salon.com.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott and the friends with whom he recorded in middle school in Texas (photo courtesy of Dan Pickering)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Heatmiser publicity shot (L-R: Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson, Neil Gust, Elliott Smith) (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott and JJ Gonson (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    "Stray" 7-inch, Cavity Search Records (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott's Hampshire College ID photo, 1987

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott with "Le Domino," the guitar he used on "Roman Candle" (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Full "Roman Candle" record cover (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott goofing off in Portland (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Heatmiser (L-R: Elliott Smith, Neil Gust, Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson)(courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    The Greenhouse Sleeve -- Cassette sleeve from Murder of Crows release, 1988, with first appearance of Condor Avenue (photo courtesy of Glynnis Fawkes)

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

Loading Comments...