Freedom for Political Prisoners!
Appeal from international human rights activists
Defence lawyer Mikhail Trepashkin, one of the witnesses in Andrey Nekrasov’s film about the KGB, sentenced for honesty and courage to four years in a labour camp, has announced an indefinite hunger strike.
A human rights activist who told the truth about the explosions in apartment blocks in Russia, a political prisoner who has endured torture and who gave a detailed interview about what goes on today in the Russian, formerly Soviet, GULAG (the name may have changed, but not the substance), including about the fate of Caucasians, a Russian who warned his colleagues that he would not get out of prison alive, who understood that the truth is doomed in the current climate.
Trepashkin announced his hunger strike straight after Bakhmina and Khodorkovskiy, who are still in prison, straight after Said-Emin Ibragimov, who through his heroic 40-day hunger strike outside the Council of Europe in Strasbourg managed to influence the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. The West seems to be slowly seeing the light, to understand at last the threatening consequences for Europe of the race for cheap oil and gas, the end result of grovelling before Stalin and Dzherzhinskiy’s successors on the Kremlin throne.
Our demands have not changed:
· Freedom for political prisoners and a universal ban on torture
· A declaration that the communist and fascist orders are criminal, including their successors today, not a condemnation of them as systems
· An end to war
· The establishment of strict legality and the observance of international legal norms without those reservations that America and Europe are willingly making today, not to mention Russia
We must not allow democratic gains to be wasted, gains that were achieved at the cost of millions of lives in war and revolution, at the cost of the lives of the world’s outstanding humanitarians in all the preceding centuries.
Our appeal is all the more timely, as political criminals, who are today fighting for the dissolution of the Hague court (Zhirinovskiy and his Duma supporters), should first be brought before the courts themselves. They are trying in advance to avoid their deserved punishment.
International law must meet the basic demands of the defence of the basic rights and freedoms of all people (as set out in the International Declaration of Human Rights). It must ensure a world order in which it would be impossible to justify executioners such as Hitler, Stalin, Milosevich and Putin, who have subjected peoples to genocide, in which it would be impossible to throw political refugees out of a country, breaking international conventions with impunity, as is happening today in Lithuania, the Netherlands and many other countries of the Western world.
Knowing how keenly President Putin follows mention of his name in the press, we do not doubt that we are heard not only outside Russia, but also inside.
We are speaking out because political prisoners cannot. Fighters for justice and humanitarianism need to sound the alarm to wake the governments of different countries and raise the peoples of Russia.
Don’t wait until the billionaire who has stolen from the poverty-stricken people, Putin, blows up your houses as a distraction from reality, and sinks the latest submarines in your blood, destroys the audience in the latest theatre (of the absurd) and shoots your children from tanks and flame throwers, drags an infected prisoner through the cells of Matrosskaya Tishina or lets bird flu loose there. When there is no responsibility or morality, the choice is great. Until the world publicly condemns the communist order, including its leaders-executioners and their modern-day successors, the hands of tyrants will remain untied for despotism.
Mikhail Trepashkin has played his last card. He is ready to give his life for our future, for the freedom of our children. The lawyer said that he would stop his hunger strike only if he is “released from illegal detention”.
While we were writing this appeal, Mikhail Khodorkovskiy was locked in the punishment cells for seven days for drinking tea. The arbitrariness that is aimed directly against all detainees, including adolescents in the labour camps, the disabled in special institutions, the maimed defenders of their homeland of all ages, orphans in children’s homes, is growing by the minute. The manic zeal of the authorities shows how afraid of us the Kremlin is, as it lives out its last days.
Every minute at your side the best representatives of different peoples are being tortured and destroyed, as the law is incomplete and breakable. We, contemporaries, are witnesses of genocide and brutality. By our silence we condone what is happening, the world’s descent into degradation, into the disappearance of man as homo sapiens. Reinforce the Hague tribunal, the Strasbourg court, the unity of Europe and the world. Oppose evil. Tomorrow any one of you could be helpless before the threat of communism-fascism.
Help the political prisoners!
Larisa Volodimerova - the Netherlands-Israel;
Jaras Valiukenas - Lithuania;
Nadezhda Banchik - USA;
Irina Smith - Great Britain;
Sajd-Emin Ibragimov - France;
Viktoria Pupko - USA;
Aleksandr Litvinenko - Great Britain;
Boris Stomakhin - editor of Radikalnaya Politika newspaper, citizen of Russia;
Mayrbeck Taramov - director of the Chechen Human Rights Centre, Chechen Republic-Sweden;
Ucha Nanuashvili - executive director of the Human Rights Information and Documentation Centre, Georgia;
Mark Ulensh - Russia;
Evgeniy Frumkin - Russia;
Igor Hergenroether - Germany;
Tengiz Gudava - USA;
Oleg Grechenevsky - Russia;
Jon Arno Lawson - Canada;
All the members of the Marexa Foundation - the Netherlands;
17,000 supporters of the Movement for Khodorkovskiy http://www.russianlife.nl/freembh.htm