Amnesty International: sentencing Navalny is "stranglehold on civil society"
Amnesty International (AI), the international human rights organization, considers the detention of opposition leaders Alexey Navalny and Leonid Volkov a further evidence of the relentless stranglehold on civil society by the Russian authorities, according to a statement on the official website of the organization.
“This is the third time this year that Alexey Navalny has been thrown behind bars solely for peacefully exercising his rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. He has committed no crime, yet will have spent two months in prison simply for challenging the repressive Russian laws on public gatherings,” said Denis Krivosheev, the Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International.
The human rights organization called for the "immediate and unconditional" release of both oppositionists, DW reported.
Navalny was detained on September 29 at the entrance hall of his building, when he was going to a rally in Nizhny Novgorod. On October 2, the court detained the opposition leader for 20 days for his public appeals for participation in an unsanctioned gathering. Navalny did not admit his guilt and said the administrative persecution was only happening for the purpose of obstructing his political campaign. He stressed that the Nizhny Novgorod gathering was actually state-sanctioned.
His associate Leonid Volkov was given the same term on October 2. Volkov was detained on September 29 in a Nizhny Novgorod police department, where he had come to make a claim about rally obstruction.
The Nizhny Novgorod rally was sanctioned by the local authorities at first, before the city administration revoked the permission, which Navalny claimed was illegal.
The prosecutors want the former Russian Federation Council member to go to prison for 14 years instead of 9 and pay a 500-million-ruble ($8.8 million) fine instead of 70 million rubles ($1.2 million).