Condemned to three years in a Russian prison for spray painting a fence. It happened to the Russian activist Evgeny Vitishko. Evgeny is active in the group Ecological Watch for the North Caucasus (EWNC), and he was jailed for exposing the environmental damages caused by the Sochi Olympic Games.
In 2012, Evgeny Vitishko was convicted of vandalism for spray painting the fence of what he said was a local governor’s property in a national forest where construction is forbidden. In February this year he was condemned to 3 years in a medium-security prison for allegedly violating his parole conditions. It’s a particularly curious case. At the time of the court’s ruling, Evgeny was serving a 15 day sentence, charged with hooliganism for swearing in public. And at the time of his arrest he was set to release a report on the environmental destruction of the construction of the Sochi Olympic Games.
The ecosystem of the Mzymta River in Sochi National Park was almost completely destroyed. Water from the river used for the water supply of the city is now contaminated. And a considerable part of the wetlands in the Imeretinsky Valley were irreversibly damaged. With temperatures of six degrees last week and the use of 450,000 cubic metres of stored snow, some even question why Sochi National Park was even selected to host the games in the first place. There are places in Russia that are much more climatically suitable to host the Winter Olympics than the Black Sea coast.
Environmental groups including Greenpeace and the EWNC protested during the construction of the games after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) ignored their recommendations. Many activists of the EWNC, including Evgeny, have been arrested and imprisoned for their activities and virtually all of its members have been harassed by the government or police.
Amnesty ask to sign a petition in support of Evgeny Vitishko: https://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions/yevgeny-vitishko-russia-environmental-activist-detained-swearing