By: Kiran Sona Puthan
On Monday, the decision by Russia to detain opposition leader and activist Alexei Navalny was condemned by two United Nations Special Rapporteurs, while praising him for his bravery.
On Sunday Alexei Navalny returned to Russia from Germany here he was getting treatment and recovering from a nerve agent poisoning in August. He was immediately detained on Sunday, on his return to Russia. On Monday, a judge ordered that Alexei Navalny should be held in Pre-trial detention for violating parole terms for fraud charges against him. In 2018, the European Court of Human Rights reported on these charges and beckoned these charges arbitrary and unfair. Besides, the United Kingdom and the European Union have sanctioned Russian officials for the poisoning attack on Alexei Navalny.
The Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia (FSIN) ordered that Alexei Navalny be detained because Alexei Navalny missed his in-person check-ins, which was mandatory as part of his suspended sentence for the fraud charges against him, and he did so without a valid reason.
The Special Rapporteur on the extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, Agnès Callamard, and the Special Rapporteur on the right of freedom and expression, Irene Khan, said that it was appalling that Mr. Alexei Navalny’s arrested for infringing parole terms, for a sentence he should not have gotten in the first place. They also said that in spite of the authorities being fully aware of the fact that Alexei Navalny was in Germany for several months for his treatment, recovering from the poisoning attack. The Special Rapporteurs also said that they salute Alexei Navalny’s courage and will continue to follow his case closely.
The Rapporteurs went on to criticise the arrest of Alexei Navalny’s supporters and protestors, who were taking part in peaceful assembly.
In the meantime, the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia (FSIN) is imploring that Alexei Navalny’s suspended sentence be replaced with a prison term, for over three years.
Alexei Navalny encouraged his supporters to protest via a video, in response to his detention. Various groups of his supporters are organising such protests in his support. One such protest is scheduled on January 23 in Moscow.