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Assembly Rapporteurs react to the arrests of supporters of Alexei Navalny

Sunna Aevarsdottir (Iceland, SOC), rapporteur on political prisoners in Russia, and Jacques Maire (France, ALDE), rapporteur on the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, have reacted to events in the Russian Federation.

“I am deeply concerned about the situation in Russia. Tens of thousands of citizens gathered in numerous towns and cities to peacefully protest against the arrest of Alexei Navalny last Sunday, 17 January. Several hundred of them were arrested by the police, sometimes very violently, as shown by video evidence,” said Mr Maire.

“All of Mr Navalny’s closest collaborators were arrested before the protests even began, and even his wife was arrested. The actions of the Russian authorities are incompatible with respect for democratic pluralism and basic political freedoms. Most, if not all of those arrested on Saturday could be considered prima facie political prisoners,” said Ms Aevarsdottir.

“We are observing these events extremely closely and will draw all the necessary legal conclusions. Anyone arrested for exercising their freedoms of expression and assembly, as protected by the European Convention on Human Rights, must be released immediately,” concluded the two rapporteurs.