EU imposes sanctions against Russia over Navalny’s death

The Council of the European Union decided on March 22 to impose restrictive measures against 33 persons and two entities linked to the sudden death in a strict penal colony of the Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny, a statement by the Council of the EU said.

The decision was taken in the framework of the European Union’s Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime, the statement said.

The new listings include the penal colonies where Navalny was held from June 2022 until his death, IK-6 corrective colony and IK-3 maximum security corrective colony.

Both colonies are known for exerting physical and psychological pressure, full isolation, torture and violence on prisoners, the statement said..

“In both places Mr. Navalny suffered abuses, including through repeated solitary confinement in a punishment cell and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, leading to the severe deterioration of his health.”

The head of IK-3, Vadim Kalinin, and various deputy heads of the colony were also sanctioned.

The Council decided to include members of the judiciary such as Andrey Suvorov, who sentenced Alexei Navalny to 19 years in a special regime colony under inhumane conditions last year, Kirill Nikiforov, who rejected his lawsuit against IK-6 to appeal his transfer to a punishment cell for 12 days, and Evgenia Nikolaeva and Natalia Dudar, who have issued a number of rulings against political opponents including Navalny, thereby contributing to political repression in Russia, the statement said.

Other listings include high-level officials in the penitentiary system and in the Ministry of Justice who were either responsible for the execution of prison sentences of Alexei Navalny, and other political opponents, or failed to  ensure the protection of human and civil rights and freedoms.

With the March 22 listings, restrictive measures under the EU’s Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime now apply to 104 natural and legal persons and 23 entities from multiple countries.

Those listed under the sanctions regime are subject to an asset freeze, and the provision of funds or economic resources, directly or indirectly, to them or for their benefit, is prohibited. Additionally, a travel ban to the EU applies to the natural persons listed.

“The EU is deeply concerned about the continuing deterioration of the human rights situation in Russia,” the statement said.

“Russia’s illegal, unjustified and unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine has further accelerated internal repression in the country, drastically limiting the freedom of opinion and expression, as well as media freedom, and introducing war censorship.”

The statement said that the EU continues to strongly condemn the severe expansion of restrictive legislation and systematic and intensifying repression against civil society and human rights defenders, as well as the unabated crackdown on independent media, individual journalists and media workers, political opposition members and other critical voices active throughout the Russian Federation and outside the country.

On February 19 2024, in the statement by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on behalf of the EU on the death of Alexei Navalny, the EU expressed its outrage about Navalny’s death and recalled its repeated condemnation of his poisoning and the politically motivated actions taken against him, including his imprisonment and ill treatment in the prison system.

It underlined that the EU would spare no efforts to hold the Russian political leadership and authorities to account for his death and would impose further sanctions.

“The EU repeats its call on Russia to immediately and unconditionally release all those imprisoned for politically motivated charges,” the Council of the EU said.

The relevant legal acts, including the names of the listed individuals and entities, have been published in the Official Journal of the EU.

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The Sofia Globe staff

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