Crude Accountability Condemns Death Threats Made Against Members of Environmental Watch and Demands a Swift Investigation

Crude Accountability demands an immediate investigation into anonymous online death threats made against the leaders of Environmental Watch on the North Caucasus and urges the authorities to take measures to protect Andrey Rudomakha and Dmitry Shevchenko.

Today, Environmental Watch activists reported that on January 9, 2018, the organization’s leaders, Andrey Rudomakha and Dmitry Shevchenko, received anonymous e-mail messages containing violent threats. The messages came from the email address (translated as “death to Rudomakha”).

The message to Rudomakha’s personal email contained the following text (translated): “In Kuban, there is no place for people secretly worshiping satanic creeds and using foreign money to destroy Russia under the ruse of protecting the environment. It is safer for you to leave…”. The anonymous sender used a photo of Rudomakha that was taken immediately after the recent violent attack and depicts him with a bruised and bloody face. The photo is available on EWNC’s social media accounts.

The deputy coordinator of EWNC, Dmitry Shevchenko, received the following message (translated from Russian): “Rudomakha’s henchman, get out of the country. You better leave, Dmitry…”.

Crude Accountability is disgusted by these violent anonymous threats against the environmental organization. We demand a thorough investigation into all episodes of harassment of members of EWNC. We also demand that the hostility cultivated not only by anonymous criminals but also by the local authorities and media smear campaigns stop immediately. We urge the government to declare unacceptable all acts of repression against environmental defenders and to take steps to protect their rights. The government has an obligation to promote and safeguard the right to protect the environment.

The threats were received less than two weeks after the brutal attack on members of Environmental Watch on the North Caucasus. On December 28, 2017, three masked men brutally attacked Rudomakha, injured other members of the organization, and stole their equipment and computers. The official police investigation has not concluded anything yet. Rudomakha is still in the hospital and has a long road of physical therapy and recovery ahead.

Over three hundred representatives of global civil society signed a letter demanding that the government conduct a swift and full investigation into the violent attack on Andrey Rudomakha and other members of EWNC and bring the perpetrators to justice. The letter was sent to the appropriate federal and local authorities.

Ensuring a normal, safe, and decent atmosphere for environmental defenders is an essential component of the government’s obligation to protect the environment. Our sustainable development and well-being rely on respect and recognition of environmental defenders such as Environmental Watch.