Statement from the President of the External Relations Section and the Russia Follow up Committee of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) on the arrest of Mr. Alexei NAVALNY

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The External Relations Section and its Russia Follow-up Committee strongly condemn the arrest and the incarceration of Mr. Alexei Navalny. At the brink of the 25th anniversary of Russian Federation's membership of the Council of Europe, such violations of fundamental rights and the very core principles of rule of law are utterly unacceptable. Attempts to silence independent voices and political opponents go against international laws, as well as Russia's own international commitments. We call upon the Russian authorities to immediately release Mr. Navalny, ensure his safety and bring to justice those responsible for the attempt on his life.

DIMITRIS DIMITRIADIS, President of the External Relations Section
SIMO TIAINEN, President of the Russia Follow-up Committee