22 March 2022, 21:30
Russia: Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the EU on the ruling to extend Alexei Navalny’s politically motivated imprisonment by an additional 9 years:
The European Union strongly condemns the ruling by Moscow’s Lefortovo District Court, to extend the imprisonment of the Russian opposition politician Mr Alexei Navalny by an additional 9 years. We also deeply regret that the court hearings were conducted in a de facto closed setting, inaccessible for observers in the penal colony outside Moscow, where Alexei Navalny is already serving another politically motivated sentence, which opens space for the fabrication of charges and lack of exercise of defence rights by the accused. This is the starkest indication that the Russian legal system continues to be instrumentalised against Mr Navalny.
The European Union deplores the systematic crackdown on civil society, independent media, individual journalists and human rights defenders in Russia. This internal repression is accelerating amid Russia’s ongoing military aggression against its sovereign neighbour Ukraine. The Russian Government continues to blatantly ignore all international obligations and commitments for the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
We reiterate our call on the Russian authorities for his immediate and unconditional release. We call on the Russian authorities to comply with the interim measure granted by the European Court of Human Rights with regard to the nature and extent of risk to Mr Navalny’s life.
Alexei Navalny: MEPs strongly protest unjust prison sentence
Statement by leading MEPs on the sentencing of Alexei Navalny to nine years in prison.
“We strongly regret today’s decision by Moscow’s Lefortovski Court to sentence Alexei Navalny to nine years in a maximum security prison and to issue him a EUR 10.000 administrative fine. Mr Navalny has already unjustly served 2,5 years in prison and is currently detained in a penal colony east of Moscow, where his basic rights have been repeatedly violated.
Today’s judgment clearly contravenes international law and the Russian Constitution and is as unlawful, arbitrary and politically motivated as the previous judgment in the “Yves Rocher” case. Moreover, today’s verdict demonstrates once again that the Russian regime is waging fear among opposition leaders, activists and civil society.
Therefore, we reiterate our call on the Russian government to immediately and unconditionally release Mr Navalny, as well as the hundreds of other Russian citizens groundlessly detained only for having the braveness to demonstrate in favour of peace or for stepping-up for their rights, including the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.
As Mr Navalny suggested, the best support for him and other political prisoners is not sympathy and kind words, but actions against President Vladimir Putin’s regime. Consequently, we call on the EU to support the brave Russian citizens who have the courage to stand for peace and a free and democratic Russia and urge it to adopt immediate sanctions against all Russian officials involved in this new case of misjustice.”
The statement is co-signed by:
Mr David McAllister (EPP, Germany), Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee
Mr Ryszard Czarnecki (ECR, Poland), Chair of the European Parliament’s delegation to the EU-Russia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee
Mr Andrius Kubilius (EPP, Lithuania), the European Parliament’s standing rapporteur on Russia
Ms Maria Arena (S&D, Belgium), Chair of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights