NGOs write about political prisoners in Russian Federation
Nearly 40 non-governmental organisations, including the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, have asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Polish Football Association to take action for the release of persons incarcerated by the Russian Federation for political reasons.
The organisations emphasise that the absence of any response to the situation or calls that would address human rights issues in Russia during the ongoing World Cup soccer tournament constitute a de facto acceptance of human rights violations by authorities of the Russian Federation.
Memorial Human Rights Centre informs about 158 political prisoners and 77 individuals who were likely to have been detained for political reasons. Memorial also notes that the list does not include all persecuted persons, whose actual number is clearly higher.
On 9 January 2018, Oyub Titiyev, who is head of a local branch of the Memorial Human Rights Centre, was arrested in Chechnya. Prior to his arrest, Mr Titiyev provided assistance to victims of major human rights violations such as torture or forced disappearances. He also helped families of people killed by security services linked to incumbent Chechen authorities.
The NGOs also referred to 71 Ukrainian nationals whose persecution can be considered politically motivated. The hunger strike of Oleg Sentsov, who is currently serving a 20-year sentence in a prison colony and started his protest a month ago, continues.
The organisations call the letters’ recipients to take immediate action, also because of the World Cup soccer tournament that is currently taking place in Russia.