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Russian Federation: co-rapporteurs expect immediate implementation of amnesty bill

Dora Bakoyannis (Greece, EPP/CD) and Andreas Gross (Switzerland, SOC), Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) co-rapporteurs for monitoring of the Russian Federation have expressed their satisfaction at the announcement of the release of Mikhail Khodorkovsky following a pardon from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

They also welcome the amnesty bill adopted by the Russian Duma which foresees the termination of, inter alia, the cases against four defendants arrested during 2012 Bolotnaya Square demonstrations, 28 Greenpeace activists and the release of two members of the punk band Pussy Riot. At the same time they deeply regret that the charges against eight more defendants in the so called “Bolotnaya case” have not been dropped.

“In all our contacts with the Russian authorities, we have repeatedly insisted on the need to release all people whose detention may raise justified suspicions about politically motivated justice and might have been perceived as violations of human rights within the Russian legal system,” the rapporteurs stressed. “We have also raised this concern in our recent monitoring report on Russia debated in the Assembly in October 2012,” they added.

The rapporteurs concluded by saying that they now expected an immediate implementation of the amnesty bill.