Appeals of Polish NGOs for releasing political prisoners in Russia (solidarity action)

38 Polish NGOs called upon prof. Jacek Czaputowicz, Polish Minister of Public Affairs and Zbigniew Boniek, the President of Polish Football Association (PZPN) to undertake urgent actions leading to releasing persons arrested or convicted for political reasons by the Russian Federation.

Organizations present alarming facts and figures:

  • Lists of the Memorial Human Rights Defence Centre include currently as many as 158 political prisoners and 77 persons who have very likely been arrested for political reasons.
  • NGOs have information about 71 Ukrainian citizens whose persecution may be deemed politically motivated.
  • During the times when countries openly celebrate the opening of the World Cup, in one of the penal colonies a Ukrainian national, Oleg Sentsov, has been on a hunger strike for a month, demanding that all Ukrainian political prisoners are released. He was convicted for 20 years of imprisonment. He has announced that he intends to continue his hunger strike until he dies.
  • On 9 January 2018, in Chechnya, Oyub Titiev, chairman of a local branch of the Russian organisation “Memorial” Human Rights Defence Centre, was arrested. Titiev’s car was stopped and searched, and during the search – in the opinion of lawyers, NGOs, and independent media – drugs were planted on him. Oyub Titiev brought help to victims of serious violations of human rights – torture, forced disappearances, he also helped families of persons killed by services connected to the republic’s authorities. For the last few months before his arrest, Titiev and other Memorial workers dealt with the well-known case of 27 residents of the republic who were arrested and then vanished (probably shot). Titiev’s lawyers point out to numerous and blatant breaches during the arrest and proceedings. The prosecution has not presented any credible evidence that a crime has been committed so far. Despite this, Titiev is still under arrest, exposed to torture (which according to the reports available are commonly used in Chechen prisons), he is threatened by a high imprisonment penalty.

The appeal was initiated and supported (among others) by Polish members of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum, the platform of almost 150 NGOs aiming at development  of  cooperation  between NGOs from both, the EU member states and Russian.

(cover letter and letter submitted in PL)

(cover letter and letter submitted in PL)


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