Foreign Minister Eva-Maria Liimets condemned Russia’s actions and called for the immediate release of Alexei Navalny.
“Regarding the sentencing of Alexei Navalny to 3.5 years in jail yesterday, we condemn the continued grave violation of human rights in Russia and call for the immediate and unconditional release of Navalny,” the foreign minister said in a statement. “We consider it an extremely cynical and inhuman move to arrest Navalny on his return to Russia after recovering from a serious poisoning. It is also unacceptable how peaceful people who attended protests sparked by his detention are subjected to cruel treatment on a mass scale, disregarding basic rule of law.”
The minister notes that as a neighbour of Russia Estonia follows with concern the increasing moves to create an atmosphere of fear in Russia, and considers respecting human rights, including the freedom of expression and assembly, the only possible solution. “The European Court of Human Rights has made its ruling, calling the original detention of Alexei Navalny arbitrary and manifestly unreasonable. This means Russia’s actions are in an even greater conflict with its international commitments. Let us recall the recent restoration of the voting rights of Russia’s delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, a decision Estonia’s delegation considered clearly premature,” the foreign minister notes.
The foreign minister emphasises that unless Navalny is released immediately and peaceful protesters are ensured fair treatment, the European Union should respond resolutely. This would entail imposing sanctions on those responsible for the episodes in question. “The sanctions introduced so far have been appropriate and efficient and helped prevent the worst in many cases. We will continue to watch these developments closely and we are consulting with our allies and partners to find suitable and impactful solutions,” the minister says.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia