The European Union strongly condemns the August 4 ruling against the Russian opposition politician, Alexei Navalny, by a Moscow court, sentencing him to an additional 19 years of imprisonment for actions which constitute legitimate political and anti-corruption activities, the European External Action Service (EEAS) said.
The EU also deeply deplores that the court hearings were conducted in a closed setting, inaccessible for Navalny’s family and observers, in a strict-regime penal colony outside Moscow, where Navalny is already serving politically motivated sentences of a total of 11.5 years, the statement said.
“This is a stark indication that the Russian legal system continues to be instrumentalised against Mr Navalny,” the EEAS said.
“It also shows how much Russian authorities are afraid of him.”
Navalny is yet another example of the continued systematic crackdown by the Russian authorities, and their disregard for the human rights of their own citizens, the statement said.
“The European Union reiterates its deep concern about reports of repeated ill-treatment, unjustified and unlawful disciplinary measures, and harassment amounting to physical and psychological torture by prison authorities against Mr Navalny. Russia’s political leadership is responsible for his safety and health, for which they will be held to account,” the EEAS said.
Three years have passed since the assassination attempt through poisoning of Navalny on August 20 2020 in Russia by using a toxic nerve agent of the Novichok group, banned under the Chemical Weapons Convention, to which the Russian Federation is a State Party.
Together with its partners, the EU will continue to repeat its call on Russia to investigate the assassination attempt on Navalny in full transparency and without further delay, and to fully cooperate with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to ensure an impartial investigation, the statement said.
The EU reiterated its call on Russia to immediately and unconditionally release Navalny.
Sanctions have been imposed since 2020 against individuals and entities responsible for the poisoning, arbitrary arrest, prosecution and sentencing of Navalny.
On July 20, EU ministers adopted additional measures against 11 individuals and five entities responsible for serious human rights violations in Russia, also related to Navalny’s case.
The European Union reiterated its call on Russia to comply with the interim measure of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) requiring the immediate release of Navalny from prison.
“The European Union recalls that Russia remains bound to fully implement the ECtHR judgements related to human rights violations that have occurred before September 16 2022, when Russia ceased to be a Party to the European Convention on Human Rights, the EEAS said.
(Archive photo: VOA)
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