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Jailed Russian Environmental Activist On Hunger Strike

Environmental activist Yevgeny Vitishko

Imprisoned Russian environmental activist Yevgeny Vitishko has started a hunger strike.

Vitishko's lawyer, Sergei Loktev, said on October 6 that his client had been drinking only water since September 29 in demand for an early release from his prison term.

On September 29, a court in the Tambov region had again rejected Vitishko's request to be released.

Vitishko was jailed after raising concerns about the environmental impact of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

He was handed a three-year suspended sentence in 2012 for spray-painting a fence in a forest near Sochi to protest what he said was illegal construction.

In December 2013, a court ruled that he had violated the terms of his sentence and sent him to prison.

Amnesty International has urged Russian authorities to immediately release Vitishko after he began another hunger strike in April.

Amnesty has named Vitishko a "prisoner of conscience" and the prominent Moscow-based human rights group Memorial considers him a political prisoner.

Based on reporting by and Interfax