November 2, 2014

Russia - HRC "Memorial" releases list of 46 political prisoners

30 October 2014, the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial" has published a list of persons recognized as political prisoners. The list includes 46 persons, namely, Ruslan Kutaev, the President of the Assembly of Peoples of the Caucasus, Zarema Bagavutdinova, a member of the Dagestani Regional Public Organization (DRPO) "Pravozaschita" (Advocacy), Evgeny Vitishko, an ecologist from the KrasnodarTerritory, and others.

According to the HRC "Memorial", within a year starting from October 30, 2013, the list of political prisoners got reduced from 71 to 46 names. To a large extent, this fact can be associated with the amnesty announced in Russia in connection with the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution.

The current list of political prisoners includes the persons, whose activities took place in the Russian Southern Federal District (SFD) and the North-Caucasian Federal District (NCFD) and the criminal proceedings against whom were highlighted by the "Caucasian Knot".

Thus, the list includes Ruslan Kutaev, a Chechen public figure, the President of the Assembly of Peoples of the Caucasus. On July 7, he was sentenced to four years of imprisonment on charges of drug possession. Ruslan Kutaev insists on his innocence. At present, he tries to challenge his verdict at court. The Ruslan Kutaev's case "bears numerous signs of falsification; and it seems to be completely fabricated," the HRC "Memorial" has claimed.

On May 21, Zarema Bagavutdinova, a member of the DRPO "Pravozaschita", was sentenced to five years on charges of recruiting a native of Dagestan for the armed underground. The defence of Zarema Bagavutdinova has called the charges groundless and appealed against the verdict; however, the Supreme Court of Dagestan dismissed the appeal.

On June 20, 2012, Evgeny Vitishko, an activist of the "Ecological Watch for Northern Caucasus" (EcoWatch), was sentenced to three years of conditional imprisonment on charges of inflicting damage to the fence around the land plot known as the "summer cottage" of Krasnodar Governor Alexander Tkachov. In December 2013, the court replaced the conditional by real imprisonment, and in February 2014, Evgeny Vitishko was transferred to a settlement-colony in the Tambov Region.

The complete list of political prisoners is published on the website of the HRC "Memorial".

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