March 2, 2024
Sasha after arrest and conviction

February Amnesty International Update: Have a Heart for Human Rights

Aleksandra (Sasha) Skochilenko was arrested in her native St. Petersburg in April 2022 and charged with spreading false information about the military that decried Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

ALEKSANDRA’S STORY

Picture Sasha before her arrest
Sasha before her arrest

Aleksandra filled her life with music and art. In better times, she loved playing the piano, guitar, mandolin and flute, and hosted jams for anyone who wanted to play together.

Troubled by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Aleksandra took action on 31 March 2022. She replaced price tags in a local supermarket in Saint Petersburg with little paper labels containing information about the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In the early morning of 11 April 2022, police arrested Aleksandra and charged her with “public dissemination of knowingly false information about the use of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation” – a new article of the criminal code hastily introduced by the Russian government in March 2022 to try and stop Russian people criticizing the invasion of Ukraine.

Aleksandra was held in detention ever since, in terrible conditions. And on Nov. 23, 2023, Sasha was convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison in one of the highest-profile cases involving the recent crackdown on free speech.

Nearly 20,000 people (about the capacity of Madison Square Garden) have been detained for their antiwar stance since the start of the invasion in February 2022.

 By the way, this is what a dictatorship looks like! 


VISIT THE AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL TABLE IN THE LIBRARY AND TAKE AN ACTION IN SUPPORT OF SASHA.

Use the Case Sheet on the table to learn about Sasha and to help support her:

Actions: You can copy the shortened letter (below), sign a petition, or better yet, for February,” HAVE A HEART FOR HUMAN RIGHTS,” send Sasha a message of support using the materials provided. You can also use the electronic suggestions on the case sheet provided. You can also share a selfie with the provided picture of Sasha on your own social media or send to the address provided.

Leave each in the envelope provided and your Amnesty International Club will mail them.

The Embassy of the Russian Federation
2650 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
Washington DC 20007

BEGIN COPYING HERE:

Dear Prosecutor,

I respectfully call on you to ensure the release of Aleksandra Skochilenko, who is being detained for criticizing Russia’s war against Ukraine. Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says that everyone has a right to freely express their opinions. All charges against her should be dropped and she should immediately and unconditionally be released from prison.  Aleksandra must also be protected from harassment by detention center employees and her cellmates.

Sincerely,  

(your name)