Russian embassy receives Czech petition against repressive laws


06.02.2014 12:49

Prague - The Amnesty International (AI) human rights organisation brought a petition calling for the abolition of repressive laws in Russia to the Russian Embassy in Prague today, one day before the opening of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.


Zástupci organizace Amnesty International Gabriela Bártová a Martin Balcar přinesli 6. února, den před zahájením olympijských her v Soči, na ruskou ambasádu v Praze petici s dvěma a půl tisíci podpisy, která vybízí ke zrušení represivních zákonů v Rusku. ČTK Krumphanzl Michal

As nobody from the embassy´s staff took over the petition with about 2500 signatures under it, representatives of the Czech branch of AI put the letter in the embassy´s mailbox.

"The petition demands the abolition of repressive laws that restrict the freedom of assembly and expression and it opposes the anti-gay laws," Martin Balcar, head of AI´s Czech campaigns, told CTK.

The petition is part of a global initiative that has been signed by 350,000 people. AI representatives delivered the document to the office of Russian President Vladimir Putin last week.

Balcar said AI cannot see the Sochi Olympics to be as rosy as Moscow presents them.

AI says Russian authorities are using the Sochi Olympics to gloss over its appalling human rights record.

Along with the petition against the repressive laws, AI delivered a protest against the detention of two Russian environmental activists who protested against the destruction of the environment to the Russian embassy in Prague, Balcar said.

He said this petition was signed by 500 people.

Some Western politicians, including U.S. President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande and German President Joachim Gauck, will not visit the Sochi Olympics due to the state of human rights in Russia.

Former Czech president Vaclav Klaus criticised the boycott of the Olympics.

Czech President Milos Zeman will arrive in Sochi today.

Zeman said previously he believes politics and human rights should not mingle with the Olympics.

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka will not go to Sochi. The only cabinet member to take part in the Olympics will be Marcel Chladek who is responsible for sport affairs in the government, among others.

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