The US State Department on Saturday called on Russia to release imprisoned political leader Alexei Navalny on the second anniversary of his assassination attempt.
Driving the news: A harsh critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Navalny survived the attempted poisoning by Russian agents in August 2020. After recovering, he was arrested in early 2021 and sentenced to prison for what the department State called politically motivated charges.
- Moscow has denied any involvement in the assassination attempt on Navalny.
What they say : “We again condemn Russia’s use of a chemical weapon to poison a political opponent and call on the Kremlin to fully declare and dismantle its chemical weapons program,” the State Department spokesperson said. , Ned Price. in a statement on Saturday. “We also join Navalny’s family, colleagues and supporters around the world in calling for his immediate release.”
- The statement concluded: “We reaffirm our solidarity with Aleksey Navalny, Vladimir Kara-Murza and other political prisoners in Russia, as well as with the thousands of other brave Russian citizens who, despite personal risk, confront the lies of the Kremlin. with the truth.”
Catch up fast: In March, Navalny was sentenced to nine and a half years in prison after a Russian court found him guilty of fraud. His sentence appeal was later dismissed.
- The sentence increased an earlier sentence of 2½ years he was already serving for violating parole after he fled to Germany to recover from his assassination attempt.
- He also faces additional time behind bars for leading an “extremist” group – the Anti-Corruption Foundation, which he and two others launched to expose corruption within the Kremlin.
- Earlier this week, Navalny tweeted that he had been placed in solitary confinement in the Russian prison where he is being held.
The big picture: Russia’s treatment of Navalny is part of Moscow’s broader efforts to root out political dissent and crippling groups that champion human rights and democratic reform.
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