The co-rapporteures of the Monitoring Committee for the Russian Federation, Theodora Bakoyannis (Greece, EPP/CD) and Liliane Maury Pasquier (Switzerland, SOC), have expressed their deep concern at the arrest and detention of hundreds of protesters across the Russian Federation following country-wide anti-corruption protests.
“In its last information note of October 2016 on the functioning of democratic institutions in the Russian Federation, the Monitoring Committee already expressed concern about the impediments to the right to freedom of assembly, including through restrictive changes to the legislation and disproportional police response. The mass arrests yesterday have strengthened our concerns in this respect”, the co-rapporteures said.
The co-rapporteures expressed particular concern at the detention and conviction of Alexei Navalny, a prominent anti-corruption blogger and opposition activist. In that context they recalled that according to the European Court of Human Rights itself, there is reason for concern that previous legal action against him was politically motivated. "Yesterday's developments again raise concern about the fairness of democratic processes in Russia, and we urge the authorities to take all necessary action to fully restore public trust in the impartiality of the judicial process" they added.