Lekha G –
A Russian Court has outlawed the organization founded by Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny by labelling them as an “Extremist” organization.
The Court’s ruling prevents people associated with Navalny’s Foundation from disseminating any information, performing financial transactions, participating in elections and organizing actions under threat of imprisonment for 6 years.
In this context, Navalny said, “We are a group who unite and organize those citizens of Russia who are against corruption, for fair courts and equality of all before the law.”
“Let’s adapt. But we will not retreat from our goals and ideas. This is our country and we have no other,” he further said.
Navalny, an ardent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was arrested on 17th January for violating terms of a 2014 suspended prison sentence, upon his return from Germany, where he was receiving medical treatment after being poisoned with a Soviet-era nerve agent, which he blames on the Kremlin.
However, such accusation was rejected by Russian officials.
Ned Price, spokesman for US Department of the State accusing Russia of criminalizing the political movements in the country said, “We urge Russia to cease the abuse of ‘extremism’ designations to target non-violent organizations and end its repression of Mr. Navalny and his supporters.”
Further Josep Borrell, the high representative of the European Union said labeling the organizations as extremists groups “Marks the most serious effort to date” by the Kremlin to suppress political opposition and that “It is an unfounded decision that confirms a negative pattern of a systematic crackdown on human rights and freedoms, which are enshrined in the Russian Constitution.”
The United States has imposed punitive measures against Russia over its poisoning and detention of Navalny and tightening of export sanctions last month.
The ruling sends a tough message one week before President Vladimir Putin holds a summit meeting with US President Joe Biden in Geneva, where Russia’s treatment of Navalny is expected to be a topic.