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PACE rapporteurs react to imprisonment of Alexei Navalny

Alexey Navalny in prison

Sunna Ævarsdóttir (Iceland, SOC), PACE’s rapporteur on political prisoners in the Russian Federation, and Jacques Maire (France, ALDE), rapporteur on the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, Russian opposition politician and anti-corruption campaigner, have today reacted to his sentencing to two years and eight months in a prison colony.

“I consider Mr Navalny to be a political prisoner,” said Ms Ævarsdóttir. “His conviction and sentencing in 2014 were unlawful – this is not my evaluation, but the binding judgment of the European Court of Human Rights. Every act that depends on that conviction, including his current imprisonment, is also unlawful. And it is perfectly obvious that the Russian authorities have political motives for persecuting Mr Navalny – as the Court has found in previous judgments.”

“The attitude of the Russian authorities towards Mr Navalny is shocking,” said Mr Maire. “Instead of fulfilling their obligation under the European Convention on Human Rights to open a full criminal investigation into his attempted murder by Novichok poisoning, the Russian authorities have again violated his rights by arresting and imprisoning him.”

“We call upon the Russian authorities to release Mr Navalny immediately,” concluded the rapporteurs.