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Russian Court Gives Environmentalist 3-Year Jail Term

Russian environmental activist Yevgeny Vitishko
MOSCOW -- A prominent Russian environmental activist has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Yevgeny Vitishko is a member of the regional group Environmental Watch on North Caucasus, which has been a vocal critic of construction ahead of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

On December 20, a court in the Black Sea town of Tuapse ruled that Vitishko had broken the rules of a three-year suspended sentence and ordered that he serve the original punishment he was allotted.

Vitishko and another activist, Suren Gazaryan, were found guilty of the "deliberate destruction of property" and handed three-year suspended prison sentences in 2012.

They had been calling attention to what they say was the property of the local governor, Aleksander Tkachev, situated in a national forest where construction is forbidden.

Gazaryan has since fled Russia and now resides in Estonia.

With reporting by AP and AFP