The United States is deeply disappointed by the sentences handed down by a Moscow court in the cases of eight individuals arrested after the Bolotnaya Square protests in Moscow in May 2012. Those convicted are: Andrei Barabanov, an artist; Yaroslav Belousov, a student; Alexandra Naumova Dukhanina, a student; Sergei Krivov, a physicist; Denis Lutskevitch, a student and former soldier; Alexei Polikhovich; a student; Artyom Savelyov, an athlete; and Stepan Zemin, a student. These individuals endured more than a year of detention and a politically-motivated trial marked by a lack of due process, and seven of them now face prison sentences of up to four years. This is another example of punishment of Russians for exercising their constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of speech and assembly. We call upon the Russian government to demonstrate its commitment to the rule of law by correcting this injustice.
The United States is also disturbed by the large number of detentions made at peaceful demonstrations in support of these defendants on Friday, February 21 and Monday, February 24. In Moscow alone nearly 800 people were detained, and political figures such as Boris Nemtsov and Aleksey Navalnyy were arrested and will spend up to 10 days in jail. We call upon the Russian government to respect the rights of all citizens to exercise the fundamental freedoms and universal human rights.