The international human rights organization Amnesty International stressed that they will continue collecting signatures on the petition for the release of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, as he is being persecuted solely for political reasons.
The international human rights organization Amnesty International has withdrawn its decision to recognize Alexey Navalny as a prisoner of conscience. Alexander Artemiev, the media manager of the organization for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, said this “Mediazone”.
Journalist Aaron Mate today published on Twitter, a screenshot of an email from the organization stating that Amnesty International “no longer considers Navalny a prisoner of conscience because he advocated violence and discrimination and did not back down.”
New: @AmnestyUK withdraws designation of Navalny as a “prisoner of conscience.” In email, Amnesty says it’s “no longer able to consider Aleksei Navalny a prisoner of conscience given the fact that he advocated violence and discrimination and he has not retracted such statements.” pic.twitter.com/E9m0e6lzT8
— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) February 23, 2021
Artemyev confirmed that the organization will no longer use the phrase “prisoner of conscience” in relation to a politician, since the legal and political department, having studied Navalny’s statements in the mid-2000s, came to the conclusion that “they reach the level of hate speech.”
The representative of the organization stressed that Amnesty’s call for the immediate release of the oppositionist remains in force, as he is being persecuted solely for political reasons. According to Artemyev, the organization will continue collecting signatures on the petition for the release of Navalny.
Artemyev added that representatives of the organization “had the impression that the requests received by the national sections, prompting them to turn to Navalny’s statements 15 years ago, were part of a coordinated campaign to discredit him abroad.”
An anonymous source of Mediazona in the organization suggested that the Russia Today media holding may be behind this campaign. According to him, at least two people in their statements referred to the Twitter thread of the columnist Katya Kazbek collaborating with RT. In January she wrote a series of reports on Navalny’s nationalist statements in the 2000s. She published several old videos of Navalny, where he opposed migration, and also drew attention to the “Stop feeding the Caucasus” campaign, which she considered discriminatory.
January 17 Amnesty International recognizes Navalny as “prisoner of conscience”… This happened after the oppositionist was detained at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport and taken into custody. Amnesty then said that “Navalny’s detention is yet another proof that the Russian authorities are trying to silence him.”
January 17 Navalny returned to Russia from Germany, where he was treated after poisoning with a Novichok-class war agent. Politician was in a coma for 18 days… The oppositionist considers the assassination attempt a terrorist act organized by the FSB on the orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Immediately after returning he was detained at Sheremetyevo airport in the Yves Rocher case and arrested for 30 days (as part of the case, he received a suspended sentence and was supposed to report to the investigators, but did not do this because of the treatment in Germany).
Simonovsky Court of Moscow on February 2 at a retreat in the Moscow City Court replaced Navalny’s suspended sentence with a real one in the Yves Rocher case. Taking into account the time spent under house arrest, the politician will stay in a general regime colony for two years and 6.5 months.
After Navalny’s arrest, mass protests began in Russia. According to the team of the oppositionist, in the actions on January 23 throughout the country attended by 250-300 thousand people, January 31 – 200-300 thousand. On February 2, on the day of Navalny’s trial, new rallies were held in the Russian Federation, but they were not so crowded. On February 4, Navalny’s headquarters reported that do not intend to organize protests until spring… However, a few days later, they changed their minds and announced a new action, which took place on February 14.