Image of Yevgeny Vitishko courtesy of Amnesty International
Russian environmental activist and Olympics skeptic Yevgeny Vitishko was sentenced to three years in prison for swearing in public when on probation during the Olympic Games in Sochi. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have already accused the Russian government of having a politically motivated case against Vitishko, who co-authored a report detailing the Olympics’ detrimental ecological impact. Vitishko and his supporters accused the Russian government of making false claims that the Olympic facilities are environmentally- friendly, which experts believe have caused him to become a target.
Vitishko, a known environmental activist, helped develop a report by Environmental Watch of the North Caucus, which outlined the environmental effects associated with the Sochi Olympics that authorities have attempted to block from public view. In the report, Vitishko reveals how road construction has damaged a rare salmon habitat and how the Olympic ski runs usurped land from Sochi National Park; he also demonstrates the Olympic project’s actual carbon footprint and it is high. The report was partially funded by grants given to Environmental Watch by Global Greengrants Fund. Last fall, Russian authorities inexplicably froze $2,000 of the grant money – presumably to curtail the report’s progress.
Initially, Vitishko faced 15 days of jail time for hooliganism after swearing in public during the Olympic games. The charges were trumped up yesterday after an appeals court in Krasnodar said this act was in violation of parole from graffiti charges Vitishko was convicted of last year. Vitishko still remains in jail, and the International Olympic Committee has not commented on his arrest.
Via NY Times