Last night‘s condemnation of Russian opposition leader Aleksey Navalny leads to harsh criticism from abroad. Several Heads of Government condemn the 3.5 years imprisonment and call for the immediate release of Navalny.
Minister Blok says he is very concerned about the condemnation of the opposition leader. “Everyone has the right to free speech and a fair trial,” he writes on Twitter. “We call on the Russian authorities to release Navalny immediately, as well as everyone arrested in the protests in recent weeks.”
According to German Chancellor Merkel, the condemnation is contrary to the rule of law and calls for an end to violence against peaceful demonstrators. President Ursula von der Leyen of the European Commission, and countries such as the USA, Canada, France and the United Kingdom are also condemning the punishment.
British Prime Minister Johnson calls Navalny’s condemnation on Twitter “pure cowardice”:
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is waving away the criticism. “Do not interfere with internal affairs of an independent country. We recommend everyone to focus on their own problems,” said a spokesman.
Hundreds of arrests at court
Navalny has to go to jail for 3.5 years because of a 2014 imprisonment for fraud. A judge in Moscow turned that sentence into an unconditional sentence last night for violating his terms by not appearing at a hearing last year. At that time, he recovered from an attack with a nerve poison in Germany.
Since the year house arrest is deducted from the sentence, the opposition leader, according to his lawyer, has to serve another two years and eight months.
Supporters of Navalny demonstrated at the court yesterday. The police arrested over 900 people. Officers tried to hermetically seal the area around the court.
CCEit on 3 made this video about Aleksey Navalny, the name Putin refuses to pronounce: