Political Prisoner’s Family, Lawyer Do Not Know Where He Is

Human Rights Watch said Saturday that the monthlong refusal of Russian officials to provide information about the whereabouts of a political prisoner has raised concerns that he has been “forcibly disappeared.  

Andrey Pivovarov’s family and lawyer have not been in contact with him since January 18, when he sent a letter informing them that he was being transferred from a St. Petersburg prison to a prison colony.  

HRW said in a statement, “The authorities should immediately quash his politically motivated imprisonment and unconditionally release Pivovarov and, in the meantime, urgently allow his family and lawyer to meet with him.”

In July, Pivovarov received a four-year sentence for leading an “undesirable organization.”  He had headed up the now-defunct pro-democracy Open Russia Civic Movement.

He has been shuffled from one detention center to another since December and his family and lawyer have not been notified of his locations.  

Damelya Aitkhozhina, HRW’s Europe and Central Asia researcher, said, “Both Pivovarov and his family, who suffer not knowing his whereabouts, are being punished for his peaceful criticism of the government.”

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