We condemn Russian authorities’ politically-motivated conviction and sentencing of opposition leader Aleksey Navalny on additional spurious charges to nine more years in a high security prison. This outlandish prison term is a continuation of the Kremlin’s years-long assault on Navalny and on his movement for government transparency and accountability. Of course, Navalny’s true crime in the eyes of the Kremlin is his work as an anti-corruption activist and opposition politician, for which he and his associates have been branded “extremists” by Russian authorities.
Despite his near-fatal poisoning with a nerve agent in 2020 by Russia’s security services and his unjust imprisonment since January 2020, Navalny has continued to speak out against the Kremlin’s suppression of freedom of expression in Russia, and the increasing restrictions on the ability of Russia’s citizens to access information and communicate freely with each other and the outside world. This campaign has intensified as the Kremlin seeks to hide the truth of its brutal war against Ukraine from its own people. More than 15,000 citizens of Russia have been detained for taking part in anti-war protests since February 24. Russia’s communications authority has blocked access to nearly all independent news outlets and several social media platforms, and threatened journalists and average citizens alike with jail time if they dare to discuss the war against Ukraine using anything other than Kremlin-approved euphemisms.
We urge the Russian Federation to immediately and unconditionally release Aleksey Navalny and to end its campaign against his organizations and associates. Navalny’s case is sadly one of many the Kremlin continues to brazenly pursue as it systematically ignores the constitutional rights of the Russian people and its international commitments to respect and ensure human rights and fundamental freedoms. Now more than ever, the people of Russia must be able to hear voices of courage and integrity that tell the truth about the Kremlin’s wrongdoing at home and abroad.