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PACE’s General Rapporteur for political prisoners strongly condemns Alexei Navalny’s recent sentencing

Alexey Navalny in prison

“I strongly condemn Alexei Navalny’s sentencing on 4 August to further nineteen years in prison under a special regime for ‘extremism’-related charges, during a closed hearing in a penal colony,” today said Sunna Ævarsdóttir (Iceland, SOC), PACE’s General Rapporteur for political prisoners.

Mr Navalny was sentenced on six counts, including inciting and financing extremism, creating an illegal NGO, the rehabilitation of Nazi ideology, and inciting children to dangerous acts.

“I have previously called for the release of Mr Navalny on a number of occasions, in line with the position of PACE Resolution 2446 (2022), the European Court of Human Rights and the Committee of Ministers, and I will continue to speak up for his rights, alongside the rest of the international community. He is a political prisoner who faces years of unlawful imprisonment, for the purpose of political repression. Through this additional sentence, it becomes even more difficult for Mr Navalny to communicate with the outside world and to exert his influence,” Ms Ævarsdóttir emphasised.

“The already dire conditions of his detention have now been exacerbated further. I call on the Russian authorities to respect international law and the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights and provide Mr Navalny with regular access to legal advice, visits from his family and others, appropriate medical assistance and all necessary safeguards.

The arbitrary and unlawful detention of political prisoners in Russia not only entails an unjustified loss of liberty and breaches of fundamental rights such as freedom of expression or freedom of assembly, it also involves a serious risk of inappropriate conditions of detention which may amount to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment,” she added.

“This decision comes just a few days after Russian opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza, who was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison this April on charges linked to his criticism of the war of aggression against Ukraine, had his appeal rejected by a Russian court on 31 July.

I once again call upon the Russian authorities to release Mr Navalny and Mr Kara-Murza without delay,” Ms Ævarsdóttir concluded.