Steven W. Hawkins, the new executive director of Amnesty International USA, marked the occasion with the following statement:
"Amnesty International USA's birthday wish to President Putin is: do not blow out the flame of freedom. The vibrant Olympic celebrations will not obscure the Russian government's vicious assaults on the rights to freedom of expression, assembly, and association.Indeed.
"Since Vladimir Putin's return to the presidency in May 2012, punk musicians cannot sing about repression in Russia, LGBTI individuals cannot organize a Pride parade or wear a rainbow ribbon without risking arrests or beatings by police, and peaceful protestors are brutally beaten and detained for expressing their political opposition.
"As the Olympic torch arrives at the stadium celebrating athletic competition, it should also shine a light on Russia's failure to safeguard the dignity and rights of all its people.
"The ruthless suppression of human rights and the rule of law in Russia are incompatible with the spirit of the Olympics Games and should be protested."
What you can do:
Click here to send a birthday message to President Putin urging him to end the attack on human rights.