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IOC Concern Over Russia's Jailing Of Ecology Activist

Environmental activist Yevgeny Vitishko in a photo from mid-January
Environmental activist Yevgeny Vitishko in a photo from mid-January
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has asked Russian authorities to clarify why an ecology activist in Sochi has been sentenced to three years in a penal colony.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams said on February 13 that Olympic organizers expect a response in the next day or two.

Yevgeny Vitishko, a vocal critic of the damage caused by the massive construction undertaken ahead of the Winter Olympics, was handed a three-year suspended sentence in 2012 for spray-painting the fence of a property in a forest where construction was banned.

In December, a court in Tuapse ruled that Vitishko should be sent to prison for violating his parole.

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A court on February 12 upheld that decision.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged the IOC to press Russian authorities to free Vitishko, while Amnesty International considers him a "prisoner of conscience."

Based on reporting by AP and AFP