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Polish FM calls on Moscow to free Navalny, ‘victim of political persecution’

03.02.2021 08:15
Poland’s foreign minister has called on the Russian authorities to release opposition leader Alexei Navalny, saying the Kremlin critic has become "a victim of political persecution."
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny during a hearing at the Moscow City Court on Tuesday.
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny during a hearing at the Moscow City Court on Tuesday.EPhoto: MOSCOW CITY COURT PRESS SERVICE HANDOUT

“Alexei Navalny has become a victim of political persecution that violates the basic principles of the rule of law,” Zbigniew Rau said in a tweet on Tuesday.

“I call upon the Russian authorities to release Mr. Navalny and to cease the application of repressive measures against his supporters,” he added.

Moscow court on Tuesday handed Navalny a three-and-a-half-year sentence, in a ruling the opposition politician blamed on President Vladimir Putin's personal hatred and fear of him, the Reuters news agency reported.

The court's decision, which followed nationwide protests calling for Navalny's release, is expected to further strain Russia's relations with the West and trigger new sanctions.

The United States, Britain, Germany and the European Union urged Moscow to immediately free Navalny, with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying Washington would coordinate closely with allies to hold Russia accountable, Reuters reported.

European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen, in a Twitter post, condemned the sentencing of Navalny "in the strongest possible terms" and called on Russia "to comply with its international commitments and release him immediately and unconditionally."


Source: IAR, Reuters