28 October 2022
Source: Political Prisoners. Memorial
According to the most conservative estimates, the number of political prisoners in Russia and annexed territories has risen from 420 to 502 in the course of the past year
On the eve of 30 October, the Day of Remembrance of Victims of Political Repression and the Day of Russian Political Prisoners, the human rights project ‘Political Prisoners. Memorial’ is launching a permanent website memopzk.org, which will contain up-to-date lists of political prisoners in Russia, addresses to which letters can be sent and information about how to provide financial assistance to political prisoners and their families, as well as other information and analytical materials about this issue.
Our project continues the work of the Memorial Human Rights Centre’s Programme for the Support of Political Prisoners. The Centre’s website was no longer updated after 5 April 2022 when the unlawful and unsubstantiated court decision to liquidate the organisation came into force. While previously all information about political prisoners was posted on Memorial’s website along with information about other Memorial programmes, now our project’s website is entirely devoted to political prisoners.
Our website is still far from perfect and we shall continue to work on and develop it further. We would appreciate feedback from visitors to the site about its shortcomings and suggestions for improvement.
We consider it extremely important, especially now when repression is increasing, to provide information about Russia’s political prisoners in the most convenient and accessible form and to facilitate support for political prisoners and demonstrations of solidarity with them. We are working to make our website serve these goals.
A year ago, in October 2021, Memorial Human Rights Centre’s lists of political prisoners contained the names of 360 people deprived of liberty for exercising the right to freedom of religion and another 80 names of all other political prisoners – 420 people in total.
Today, we have 502 people on our lists, 385 of whom have been deprived of liberty for exercising their right to freedom of religion or religious affiliation and 117 who have been imprisoned on other political grounds. The numbers of political prisoners have been increasing for years. These days the number of political prisoners prosecuted on charges of involvement with Hizb ut-Tahrir or the Jehovah’s Witnesses has become so large that we have had to put information about such cases in separate lists.
Such a marked increase in the number of political prisoners has been, in part, a result of the new wave of political repression that has swept across Russia since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. We now maintain a separate list of those deprived of liberty for their anti-war stance.
However, our lists provide only a reliable minimum estimate of the number of political prisoners in Russia and territories under the control of the Russian authorities. The real number of political prisoners and other persons deprived of liberty for political reasons is undoubtedly much higher.
We urge you to show solidarity with victims of political repression by participating in actions in support of political prisoners, disseminating information about them, providing political prisoners with material assistance and writing letters to them.
Free All Political Prisoners!
Translated by Simon Cosgrove