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Comment By UN Human Rights Office Spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani On Russia

Geneva, 3 February 2021

We urge the authorities in Russia to immediately release all those detained for exercising their right to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression yesterday and over the past few weeks of protests across the country. There are reports that the number of people arrested yesterday was as high as 1,400. The Government must ensure that demonstrations are handled in line with its obligations under international human rights law.

We are deeply dismayed by the sentencing of Russian opposition figure Aleksei Navalny by a court in Moscow yesterday to imprisonment* for allegedly violating the conditions of a 2014 suspended sentence in an embezzlement case that the European Court of Human Rights had in 2017 already unanimously found to be arbitrary, unfair and manifestly unreasonable.

* The judge converted the former 3.5-year sentence Navalny received in 2014 to a custodial sentence, which, given the credit for time already spent under house arrest, amounts to an outstanding sentence of two years and eight months.

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