OSCE PA human rights leaders condemn sentencing of Navalny, stress that Russia must provide space for dissenting views

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COPENHAGEN, 3 February 2021 – Denouncing the prison sentence handed down to Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny on Tuesday and emphasizing their deep concern over the arrests in recent days of thousands of his supporters, OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s human rights committee officers stressed that the Russian Federation must respect fundamental freedoms.

In a joint statement, Kyriakos Hadjiyianni, Michael Georg Link and Kari Henriksen, the Chair, Vice-Chair and Rapporteur, respectively, of the OSCE PA’s General Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions, said the following:

“We strongly condemn the prison sentence issued to Alexey Navalny and call for his immediate release. This was not a fair trial and should not be described with legal terminology – this was a political ruling. Everything about this case is outrageous, from the initial 2014 charges that the European Court of Human Rights described as politically motivated and designed to curtail his public activities to the fact that Mr. Navalny is now being held responsible for violating parole due to travel that was compelled by his assassination attempt by poisoning. These are all clear indications that he is being persecuted for his political views. The crackdown on his supporters is further evidence of this.

“The systematic use of mass arrests and excessive force used against peaceful protests is unacceptable. In recent days we have seen thousands of demonstrators arrested as well as the detention of numerous journalists reporting on protests. The authorities in Moscow must ensure that police forces exercise the utmost restraint in dealing with public gatherings and ensure that they are not infringing on fundamental freedoms, including the right of peaceful assembly.

“While we all understand that there are necessary restrictions, particularly in regards to health precautions due to the pandemic, the recent crackdown confirms the continuing negative pattern of shrinking space for the opposition and independent voices in Russia. It is up to the authorities to remedy this.”

On 18 January, Hadjiyianni, Link and Henriksen issued a statement decrying the detention of Navalny at a Moscow airport upon his return from Germany.



Нэт Пэрри

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