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Human rights group ‘Memorial’ declares Navalny’s supporters prisoners of conscience
The Russian human rights center “Memorial” has declared nine of Alexey Navalny’s supporters prisoners of conscience. This comes after they were placed under house arrest as suspects in a criminal case launched over alleged violations of sanitary and epidemiological rules during a pro-Navalny demonstration on January 23.
The group of people deemed prisoners of conscience by Memorial includes Pussy Riot activist Maria Alyokhina, Navalny’s brother Oleg Navalny, Anti-Corruption Foundation employee Lyubov Sobol, Navalny staffers Oleg Stepanov and Nikolay Lyaskin, Navalny’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh, municipal deputies Lyusya Shtein and Dmitry Baranovsky, and Doctors’ Alliance director Anastasia Vasilieva.
We believe that the criminal case against them is politically motivated and connected to their political beliefs, as well as the exercise of their rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. Their persecution is being carried out in violation of the right to a fair trial and is aimed at forcibly ending their opposition activities, and intimidating the supporters of opposition politician Alexey Navalny.
The criminal case against Navalny’s supporters was launched under article 236 of the Russian Criminal Code: house arrest is the most stringent preventive measure available under this article.
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