Human rights activists demanded the immediate release of the Russian opposition leader detained shortly after his arrival from Germany
Amnesty International has demanded that Russian authorities immediately and unconditionally release Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, who was detained a few minutes after arriving at Sheremetyevo Airport from Berlin.
Navalny had been in the German capital after being poisoned in Siberia in August.
“The arrest of Alexei Navalny is further evidence that the Russian authorities are trying to silence him. His detention only underscores the need to investigate his claims that he was poisoned by state agents following orders given at the highest levels,” said Natalia Zvyagina, director of Amnesty International’s Moscow office.
“The authorities turned Alexei Navalny’s arrival into a full-scale security operation in which hundreds of police officers were summoned to Vnukovo airport and Navalny supporters were arrested and pushed out into the twenty-degree cold,” Amnesty International said in a statement.
“All Navalny supporters and journalists detained at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport should be immediately and unconditionally released,” the human rights organization demanded. – Their only crime was wanting to welcome Alexei Navalny or cover his arrival in Russia.”
“Alexei Navalny has been imprisoned for his peaceful political activism and exercise of freedom of speech. Amnesty International considers him a prisoner of conscience and calls for his immediate and unconditional release,” the organization said in a statement.
Human rights activists repeated their call for the Russian authorities to open a criminal investigation into Navalny’s poisoning and bring those responsible to justice.
“Russian authorities must stop the campaign of intimidation and political persecution of their critics, including employees and supporters of the Anti-Corruption Foundation, which Navalny leads,” the statement said.