Week-ending 23 October 2020
Amnesty International issued a statement on 19 October 2020 calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Aleksandr Shabarchin, sentenced in Perm to two years’ imprisonment for peaceful activism.
The statement reads in part: “Amnesty International calls for the immediate and unconditional release of 22-year-old civil society activist Aleksandr Shabarchin, from Perm. He is a prisoner of conscience imprisoned solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression. His criminal conviction and that of another activist – 19-year-old Danila Vasiliev who has been delivered a suspended sentence – must be overturned and both must be able to continue their peaceful activism without fear of persecution. […] Aleksandr Shabarchin has been engaged in peaceful activism, including with the local office of Aleksey Navalny supporters, for around four years. He has frequently conducted pickets and street performances to express his views on government policies and government officials, and some of these have been recorded and broadcast on the Groza Project YouTube channel. Aleksandr Shabarchin’s activities are entirely peaceful and he has neither engaged in nor called for violent actions; his prosecution reflects an environment where any criticism of authorities, including creative expression, is considered an offence. “