Rights activists propose applying constitution anniversary amnesty to Bolotnaya case suspects, Arctic Sunrise crew

Russian Jail File Photo Showing Outer Wall, Windows, Barbed Wire

(Interfax – MOSCOW, October 11, 2013) The amnesty campaign meant to mark the 20th anniversary of Russia’s constitution should apply to the suspects in the Bolotnaya Square clashes case, the Greenpeace activists detained onboard the vessel Arctic Sunrise and former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the For Human Rights organization said in an address published on its website on Thursday.

“A broad amnesty on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the constitution of the Russian Federation is currently being debated. This amnesty will be modeled after the amnesty campaign of 2000, when hundreds of thousands of veterans, pregnant women and disabled persons convicted of minor offences were released from prisons,” human rights activists said in their address.

The persons suspected of involvement in the Bolotnaya Square clashes on May 6, 2012, the Greenpeace activists charged with piracy in Russia and all those initially slated for release as part of Russia’s so-called economic amnesty (persons convicted of fraud, embezzlement or abuse of office) should be among the first entitled to release from prison as part of the proposed amnesty campaign, they said.

The address carries the signatures of actress Liya Akhedzhakova, actor Alexei Devotchenko, writers Lyudmila Ulitskaya and Nina Katerli, film director Garri Bardin, Moscow Helsinki Group head Lyudmila Alexeyeva, as well as the Memorial Society’s leaders and members Sergei Kovalyov, Arseny Roginsky, Alexander Cherkasov and Oleg Orlov.

“We are convinced that the civil society itself should take part in preparations for this amnesty. It will require us to collect thousands of signatures under the address,” the rights activists said.

On September 29, Russian President Vladimir Putin asked the Kremlin Human Rights Council to present its ideas concerning a possible amnesty campaign on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the country’s constitution before October 15. These suggestions were formulated by the public supervisory commission for penitentiary system reforms and the commission for civil society’s participation in judicial reforms. The council discussed the submitted proposals on October 11.

[featured image is file photo of Russian jail, not necessarily directly connected to article]