Russian police detain protester in Sochi

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 17, 2014 7:23 AM

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Russian police detained a man for protesting in Sochi on Monday against the jailing of an environmentalist angered by Olympic construction work.

David Khakim posted a picture on Twitter showing him holding a placard saying "Freedom for Yevgeny Vitishko" beside a sign depicting the Olympic Games logo near the city administration's offices.

Another photograph on Twitter showed him at the police station after his detention over his one-man protests.

President Vladimir Putin has tried to keep a lid on protests during the Sochi Winter Olympics to prevent them undermining his efforts to use the Games to show how far Russia has come since the Soviet era.

A regional court last week rejected Vitishko's appeal against a three-year jail sentence on charges of damaging the regional governor's property, which he denies.

Vitishko's supporters say he is being punished for publicizing environmental problems caused by the Games construction and say the case was politically motivated.

Putin has been criticized over the high cost of the Games and his stance on gay rights as well as over the damage which activists say has been done to the local environment.

The president says the air of Sochi has become cleaner since the Games preparations began.

(Reporting by Timothy Heritage, editing by Ed Osmond)