The co-rapporteurs for monitoring of Russia, Theodora Bakoyannis (Greece, EPP/CD) and Andreas Gross (Switzerland, SOC) have expressed their deep concern at the Court’s decision in Kirov ( Russia) to jail Alexei Navalny, Russian protest leader for five years on the charges of embezzlement from a timber firm.
Mr Navalny is a famous activist and blogger, well-known for his critical opinions on the Russian authorities, using social networks to denounce corruption allegations. He has registered his candidature for Moscow mayorship but the sentence will prevent him from running in the elections foreseen on 8 September 2013.
The judicial procedure engaged against Mr Navalny has been widely criticized in Russia and by the international community for numerous shortcomings and the lack of fairness, raising justified accusations about politically driven justice. In the report on the honouring of obligations and commitments by the Russian Federation debated by the Parliamentary Assembly in 2012, the lack of independence of the judiciary was identified as one of the major problems in Russia.
“ Regrettably, the judicial procedure against Mr Navalny has all features of political process – said the co-rapporteurs – the charges against Mr Navalny were unsubstantiated, and even on the assumption that he has committed a mistake, the court sentence is absolutely disproportionate”.
“This process reinforces the doubt about the independence of the judicial system in Russia”– concluded the co-rapporteurs.