We, representatives of the Aborigen Forum network of independent experts, activists, leaders, and organizations of indigenous peoples of Russia, are extremely outraged by the detention on August 24, 2020 of a journalist, ecologist, and human rights activist – Vyacheslav Krechetov. He and two other tent camp participants, which was set up this summer near the Shor indigenous village Cheremza in the Kemerovo region, were detained by police today. We demand their immediate release. We believe that this action by the police is a means of intimidation and pressure on Vyacheslav Krechetov and other environmental activists. It aims to force them to stop their lawful human rights and journalistic activities.
On August 18, 2020, residents of the Cheremza village and other nearby settlements made a video appeal to the Kemerovo region’s governor Sergey Tsivilev and Timur Frank, the owner of the Kuznetskiy Yuzhny company. The demand was made in the field tent camp, which was deployed by local residents two months ago in protest against the planned industrial activity of Kuznetskiy Yuzhny coal mining company near the Cheremza village.
The police, considered this action as an unauthorized rally organized by Vyacheslav Krechetov “in a public place,” and detained him today, August 24. Besides, another protocol was made by the police against Krechetov for disobeying the legal requirements of police officers.
It should be noted that the participants of the tent camp just today decided to finish their protest activity in the field camp. They made this decision, after the governor of the Kemerovo region, Sergey Tsivilev publicly promised to revoke the permission for the construction of the planned coal loading station.
In the field camp Vyacheslav Krechetov acted as a freelance correspondent for the Novosti Kiselevsk online media and did not any illegal actions. He never organized any mass events, but carried out his journalistic work by filming the camp life. We also outraged by the police actions as they didn’t allow Vacheslav Krechetov’s lawyer to see him for more than five hours after the arrest.
Vyacheslav Krechetov is the author of many video films that show numerous violations of indigenous peoples’ rights by the coal mining companies in the Kemerovo region, the Khakassia Republic, and other areas of Russia. Aborigen Forum expresses its solidarity with Vyacheslav Krechetov. We appeal to the media, human rights organizations, and international human rights bodies with a request to support our statement and disseminate information about this situation widely.