"Russia Jails Environmentalist One Month Before Sochi Olympics"

"Russian courts sentence Evgeny Vitishko, a critic of the Sochi Olympics construction developments, to three years."

"Last December, as the world celebrated Russia’s widely publicized release of dissident tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, two members of the punk band Pussy Riot and 29 Greenpeace activists, a court in the southern region of Krasnodar — where the Sochi Winter Olympics open next month — sentenced environmentalist Evgeny Vitishko to three years in a penal colony.

A geologist and member of the Environmental Watch of the North Caucasus, Vitishko is an outspoken critic of construction for Sochi, a massive development project that comes not only with the heftiest Olympic price tag to date — a staggering $51 billion — but also, according to some critics, the unflattering label of most damaging to the environment.

Vitishko, who denies all charges and remains free pending an appeal, was accused of violating a curfew imposed on him after he was sentenced to probation in 2012 on charges that human-rights advocates have called spurious and politically motivated. Another member of the group sentenced with him, zoologist Suren Gazaryan, fled to Estonia and was granted asylum."

Alice Speri reports for Aljazeera America January 21, 2014.

Source: Aljazeera, 01/21/2014