On February 2, following a sham trial in Moscow, Putin critic Alexey Navalny was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison under the pretense of having violated his parole by seeking emergency treatment in Germany, following an assassination attempt by Russia’s secret police, the FSB. HRF condemns Navalny’s sentence by a kangaroo court and calls for his immediate and unconditional release.
“If it was not already abundantly clear, Navalny’s sentencing is proof positive that the rule of law does not exist in Putin’s Russia,” said HRF chairman Garry Kasparov. “But Putin’s rise to power did not happen overnight. Decades of silence and attempts to appease Putin by leaders of the free world only enabled the rise of a murderous police state.”
As Russia’s most prominent opposition leader, Navalny has galvanized the support of tens of thousands, who have taken to the streets after his arrest upon returning to Russia, even as security services have responded brutally. HRF urges democracies around the world to show solidarity with Navalny and hold Putin’s regime accountable by enacting swift sanctions against Putin and his associates.
“All eyes will now be on the Biden Administration to determine whether it is serious about taking definitive actions against dictators,” added Kasparov. “Putin and his cronies must be sanctioned by the United States and the European Union, to effectively be ostracized from the free world. How the West — and specifically the new U.S. administration — reacts, will be a major test of whether things will be business as usual with regard to Putin, and whether his deadly tactics will continue to be enabled by countries that deem themselves democratic.”