July 31, 2015
Environmental Defender Evgeny Vitishko Remains in Penal Colony
On July 31, 2015, the Judge of the Kirsanov district court Yury Burchevsky denied the appeal to reduce Evgeny Vitishko’s sentence based on outstanding unexpired reprimands. We are deeply concerned over Vitishko’s fate, continue following the case and support Vitishko, who was illegally persecuted and imprisoned for protecting environmental human rights. “Evgeny should have been freed on July 31st,” said Kate Watters, executive director of Crude Accountability. “In fact, he should never have been imprisoned in the first place. There is no justice in the decision to keep him in the prison colony.”
On court hearings:
This time, the hearings took place in the penal colony, where the illegally sentenced Russian environmental defender is serving three years for ‘damaging a fence’ near the luxury residence of the ex-governor Tkachev of Krasnodar Krai. Among others, a member of Russian Presidential Human Rights Council Andrey Babushkin was present at the hearings.
Two colony officials, the manager of the colony and Vitishko’s supervisor testified that Vitishko does not represent danger to society if freed. However, his supervisor pointed out that Vitishko’s reprimands will expire in September. The court attached a petition by Tambov public supervisory commission (ОНК), which states that Vitishko does not represent danger to society if freed.
The determining factor at the hearings was the prosecutor’s position. Prosecutor Egorov S.A., who tried to conceal his name, stated, ‘Reprimands are not expired, no rewards are present; I ask to deny the appeal.’
Thus, the court denied the appeal to reduce Vitishko’s sentence. Evgeny’s defense team will seek to appeal this decision.