Russia: Opposition leader re-arrested minutes after release from detention for calling for peaceful protests

Responding to news that Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny was re-arrested today, minutes after leaving a detention centre where he had spent 30 days under “administrative arrest” for attempting to exercise his right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, Amnesty International said:

“Aleksei Navalny’s name has long been synonymous with peaceful protest and tightening restrictions on freedom of assembly in Russia. Since March last year, thousands of people across Russia have responded to his call to join mass peaceful protests against the authorities on issues ranging from corruption to pension reform,” said Natalia Zviagina, Director of Amnesty International’s Office in Russia.

Aleksei Navalny’s name has long been synonymous with peaceful protest and tightening restrictions on freedom of assembly in Russia
Natalia Zviagina, Director of Amnesty International's Office in Moscow

“However, street protests, like any protest in today’s Russia, are a risky venture. Since March 2017, Aleksei Navalny has been arrested six times and spent 110 days in prison. He is a prisoner of conscience that has not committed any crime. The Russian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release him, and fully respect his right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly,” said Natalia Zviagina.

Background

Aleksei Navalny is the founder and leader of the Anti-Corruption Foundation and the unregistered Progress Party. He was arrested by the police on 24 September immediately after being released from a detention facility in Moscow where he had served a 30-day sentence for calling for an unauthorized demonstration in the Russian capital in January.

Aleksei Navalny was previously jailed for 15 days in March 2017, 30 days in  June 2017, 20 days in October 2017, 15 days in May 2018 and 30 days in August 2018 for his role in organizing mass protests across the country.