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Yevgeny Vitishko, Environmental Activist In Sochi, Detained 15 Days For Swearing In Public

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SOCHI
From left: Svetlana Kravchenko, journalist for the Caucasian Knot website; Dmitry Shevchenko, an activist with the Environmental Watch on the North Caucasus; Natalya Kalinovskaya, activist and the head of the village of Psou; Suren Gazaryan, an exiled activist of the Environmental Watch on the North Caucasus. | AP

SOCHI, Russia - A Russian activist who has reported on the environmental fallout from construction for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games has been detained for 15 days for swearing in public.

Yevgeny Vitishko, who is serving a three-year suspended sentence for spray-painting a fence, had planned on travelling to Sochi to present an environmental report.

Vitishko's Sochi lawyer Alexander Popkov said his client was arrested as he was about to leave the town of Tuapse, 72 kilometres (45 miles ) northwest along the coast from Sochi, after formally filing for permission to travel to the Olympic host city. He faced court Monday and was found guilty of swearing at a bus stop, a hooliganism charge.

Rights groups have criticized Russian officials for harassing activists and journalists in the Sochi area.

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