President Vigdis Finnbogadóttir, and seven other former presidents, including Vaclav Havel, sent Russian president Vladimir Putin a letter expressing their concern over the state of human rights in Russia, reports Fréttabladid.
According to the Prague Daily Monitor (PDM) and the Czech News Agency (CTK) the letter states that “the information that free media carry or confirm arouse the suspicion that the Russian state exerts unacceptable pressure on the free- and democratic-minded opposition in Russia; that the freedom of the media is kept in check and restricted, and that prosecutors and courts are wrongfully influenced.”
The letter is signed by former presidents Fernando Henrique Cardoso (Brazil), Mary Robinson (Ireland), Vigdis Finnbogadottir (Iceland) and Rexhep Meidani (Albania), and former Prime Ministers Kim Campbell (Canada), Petre Roman (Romania) and Philip Dimitrov (Bulgaria). The group met in Prague last week.
According to PDM/CTK the letter “calls on the Russian government, and particularly Putin, to respect internationally recognized democratic standards and individual freedoms.”
PDM/CTK reports the former leaders say that they “will appeal to the other governments’ representatives not to repeat the mistakes committed within the policy of appeasement and not to sacrifice human rights and political freedoms for business interests and the vision of advantageous investments.”