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YABLOKOs activists get imprisonment verdicts

Press Release
February 28, 2011

Four activists of the YABLOKO party and Environmental Watch on the Northern Caucasus were arrested yesterday by the dacha of Governor of the Krasnodar Area Alexander Tkachyov. [The rich region under Tkachoyvs governing has become known for violence and murders at absolute negligence of the police to the protection of public order, however, only recently information on the criminal situation in the region has escaped to the broad public, when one of the most atrocious murders - a mass killing of 12 people including four children in Kuschoyvskaya village - has recently got into the media].


Tkachyovs Dacha such is the informal name of elite recreational complex built for the Governor of the Krasnodar Area Alexander Tkachyov on the Black Sea coast in the Blue Bay (by Dzhubga village, Tuapse district).


Most of the territory of the complex belongs to the forest fund of Russia. However, in violation of the Forest Code the territory of the dacha is fenced. In violation of Article 6 of the Water Code a free passage to the sea is blocked.


The Blue Bay is famous for its unique natural beauties: forests (especially unique endemic Pitsunda pine forests), waterfalls, mountain landscapes. Mountain forests stretch along the coast line covering 80 per cent of the Tuaspe area. The bay has been a traditional recreation place for the local residents and visitors from all over Russia. Now all the coast passages are virtually blocked by fences protecting private beeches.


Activists from the YABLOKO party and Environmental Watch on the Northern Caucasus and journalists decided to find out whether the complex in question was really the Governors dacha and weather the passage through the territory was really prohibited. So they decided to hold a public inspection in a form of a picnic by the fence of the dacha. The inspection discovered the facts of cutting of the endemic pine which is protected by the Russian law.


However, soon police arrived at the scene and without any explanation detained 19 people, including 3 journalists. The detention was violent, one of the activists Suryen Gazaryan was injured (the policemen dragged him 30 meters to the police car and also broke his nose). All the activists were taken to the local police department in handcuffs. The police also removed from the registration number from the ecologists car.
All the personal belongings of the activists (photo and video cameras and telephones) were confiscated. During the confiscation the securities guarding the dacha and summoned as witnesses at the confiscation confirmed that the dacha belonged to Governor Tkachyov; whereas the policemen simply pretended not to hear such questions.


Six hours later 12 ecologists, and all the journalists were released without issuing any protocols of the detention (i.e. without official evidence of the detention). Another four activists - the leader of the Tuapse branch of YABLOKO Eugeny Vitishko, and YABLOKOs activists Suren Ghazarian and Dmitry Shestochenko and activist of the Ecological Watch Zufar Achilov were detained in the police department over night without allowing them to sleep.


Today the four activists were brought to trial. In violation of all the norms the trial was conducted in a closed regime, neither journalists, nor public were admitted.


The leader of the Tuapse YABLOKO Eugeny Vitishko received 10 days, Dmitry Shevchenko, Zufar Achilov and Suren Gazaryan 7 days of administrative arrest for alleged resisting the police actions. It should be also noted that Eugeny Vitishko did not resist the police, moreover he was not even arrested. After 19 environmentalists were taken to the police department, Vitishko arrived there, and was taken into custody already in the police department.


YABLOKOs leader Sergei Mitrokhin called this incident arbitrary rule of the police. Mitrokhin also forwarded and address to Russian Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev demanding to release the activists. Mitrokhin also demanded from the Minister to bring to justice head of the regional Interior Department Vladimir Vinevsky and the policemen who protected the unlawfully seized plot of land.


Mitrokhin also appealed to the Public Prosecutor General demanding to conduct an audit of the Krasnodar police and a criminal investigation into the detention of ecologists.


YABLOKO will also appeal the lawless decisions by the court conducted with procedural violations.

 

See also:

Protection of Environment

 

 

Press Release
February 28, 2011

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