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Europe News

Reaction to jailing of Kremlin critic Navalny

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Here are some reactions to the jailing of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny:

A still image taken from video footage shows Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who is accused of flouting the terms of a suspended sentence for embezzlement, inside a defendant dock during the announcement of a court verdict in Moscow, Russia February 2, 2021. Press service of Simonovsky District Court/Handout via REUTERS

U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE ANTONY BLINKEN, IN A STATEMENT:

“We reiterate our call for the Russian government to immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Navalny, as well as the hundreds of other Russian citizens wrongfully detained in recent weeks for exercising their rights, including the rights to freedom of expression and of peaceful assembly.”

BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY DOMINIC RAAB, IN A STATEMENT:

“Today’s perverse ruling, targeting the victim of a poisoning rather than those responsible, shows Russia is failing to meet the most basic commitments expected of any responsible member of the international community.”

RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESWOMAN MARIA ZAKHAROVA, SPEAKING TO RBC NEWS CHANNEL:

“For the last few weeks we have been in a state of comments and responses to similar attacks and statements. You should not interfere in the internal affairs of a sovereign state. And we recommend that everyone deal with their own problems...There are a lot of problems in these countries, there is work to be done.”

EUROPEAN FOREIGN POLICY CHIEF JOSEP BORRELL, ON TWITTER:

“The sentencing of Alexei Navalny runs counter (to) Russia’s international commitments on rule of law & fundamental freedoms. It goes against the verdict of ECHR, which ruled this case arbitrary and unreasonable. I call for his immediate release.”

FRENCH PRESIDENT EMMANUEL MACRON, ON TWITTER:

“The conviction of Alexei Navalny is unacceptable. A political disagreement is never a crime. We call for his immediate release. The respect for human rights such as democratic freedom are not negotiable.”

GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER HEIKO MAAS, ON TWITTER:

“Today’s verdict against Alexei Navalny is a bitter blow against fundamental freedoms and the rule of law in Russia. Alexei Navalny must be released immediately.”

LITHUANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER GABRIELIUS LANDSBERGIS, SPEAKING TO REUTERS:

“The dialogue between the European Union and Russia is now possible only in the language of sanctions. If the community doesn’t hurry, Lithuania will consider its own national sanctions.”

LATVIAN FOREIGN MINISTER EDGARS RINKEVICS, ON TWITTER:

“Decision to imprison Russian opposition leader Alexei @navalny is both appalling cynicism and complete disregard of rule of law and international obligations by #Russia. He must be released immediately. #EU must impose sanctions, @coe must act as this is breach of ECHR ruling.”

DUTCH FOREIGN MINISTER STEF BLOK, ON TWITTER:

“Deeply concerned about the conviction of @Navalny. Everyone has the right to freedom of speech and a fair trial. We call on the Russian authorities to immediately release Navalny and all those detained during the protests of the last weeks.”

KENNETH ROTH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH, ON TWITTER:

“Navalny’s prison sentence is monstrously unjust. He should be freed immediately. As he said in his closing speech in court today, the Kremlin aims to ‘jail one person to intimidate millions.’ More likely to infuriate millions.”

KREMLIN CRITIC AND FORMER OIL TYCOON MIKHAIL KHODORKOVSKY, ON TWITTER:

“Dear Alexei and Yulia, I better than most understand how difficult it is for you right now even though you expected this decision. I believe that you will endure yet another test honourably. Shame on the corrupt judicial system and the cowardly leader of the Kremlin criminal group - the ‘sponsor’ of this ‘sentence’!”

DUNJA MIJATOVIC, COUNCIL OF EUROPE COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, IN A STATEMENT:

“Navalny should not have been arrested and tried in the first place because the criminal conviction that has served as a basis for today’s custodial sentence had already been considered arbitrary and manifestly unreasonable by the European Court of Human Rights.”

FORMER RUSSIAN TENNIS STAR YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV, 2000 OLYMPIC CHAMPION, ON TWITTER:

“I never could have imagined, not even in a nightmare, that 20 years after my triumph at the Olympic Games in Sydney, I would be so ashamed of what is happening in my home country at this time. Period.”

Compiled by Moscow bureau; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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