пятница, 16 апреля 2010 г.

still speaking for the trees....


April 15th, 2010 by andym

An update for readers on Mariam Sukhudyan, the Armenian enviro who was charged with slander last year for publicly alleging abuse of students at a Yerevan school for disabled children at which Sukhudyan volunteered. As Onnik Krikorian reported in December for TOL, Sukhudyan was convinced the charges were retaliation for her campaigning against massive tree-cutting in northeast Armenia’s Teghut forest to make way for a planned copper mine. She was offered plea deals by prosecutors but refused them all.

After meeting Sukhudyan earlier this month at Social Innovation Camp Caucasus in Tbilisi - a two-day event (co-sponsored by TOL) at which teams of techies, activists, bloggers, and others brainstormed media-savvy solutions to social problems - I’m pleased to report that she’s out of the legal woods: all charges arising from her school whistle-blowing were dropped in March.

And, freed from requirements that she remain in Yerevan pending the resolution of her case, she has taken her activism to a new level, hatching an idea for an anti-deforestation web project that won first prize at the SICamp (another disclosure: I was a judge on the panel). She and a multinational team will get $3,000 to realize their plan for Save the Trees, an online platform for Armenians to report on illegal tree cutting in their communities. They hope to expand the idea to neighboring countries.

Meanwhile the campaign to save Teghut suffered a setback 24 March when, for the third time, an Armenian court threw out environmental NGO EcoDar’s suit against the project, ruling the organization was not a party of interest in the matter. EcoDar has said it will take the case to European courts; mining is set to begin in Teghut next year.

EcoDar has produced a video documentary about Teghut, an English-subtitled copy of which Sukhudyan offered me in Tbilisi. You can watch it below.


http://vimeo.com/10946171

Article
http://cau.blogs.tol.org/2010/04/15/mariam-sukhudyan-still-speaking-for-the-trees/#comment-11691

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