Sochi activist jailed for 3 years for ‘destruction of property’

A prominent Russian environmental activist who has reported on the environmental fallout from construction for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Yevgeny Vitishko and another activist were declared guilty of "deliberate destruction of property" and handed a three-year suspended prison sentence in 2012. The other activist, Suren Gazaryan, fled Russia.

The group Vitishko works for, the Environmental Watch on the North Caucasus, said a Russian court on Friday upheld prosecutors’ demand to turn his suspended sentence into a prison term. He has 10 days to appeal.

The Associated Press reported this week about activists and journalists being harassed in Sochi for their critical coverage of the preparations for the Games. They have been detained, slapped with bogus charges and face heavy police scrutiny.