We are very disappointed by the conviction and sentencing of opposition leader Aleksey Navalniy and his co-defendant, Pyotr Ofitserov, to lengthy prison terms for alleged embezzlement by a court in the city of Kirov. Throughout the case we have expressed our concern about its apparent political motivation. We remain troubled with the failure to respect the rule of law or to ensure the fair trial guarantees required by international law. Mr. Navalniy’s and Mr. Ofitserov’s harsh prison sentences are the latest examples of a disturbing trend in the Russian Federation of legislation, prosecutions, and government actions aimed at suppressing dissent and civil society. We encourage Russia to embrace serious efforts, like Mr. Navalniy’s, to improve government accountability and combat corruption in order to nurture a modern economy.
We call on the Russian government to guarantee that individuals can freely exercise their human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedoms of expression and assembly. We urge Russia to ensure conditions for a fair and impartial appeal of the verdict in accordance with the law and its international human rights obligations.