Amnesty International has called on the Russian authorities to end their “open and shameless attempt” to intimidate the opposition ahead of September’s parliamentary elections in Moscow.
The rights group made the call on July 25 a day after a Russian court sentenced opposition figure Aleksei Navalny to 30 days in jail as part of a larger clampdown on opposition leaders ahead of an unauthorized protest this weekend.
“Aleksei Navalny and four other activists arrested [on July 24] are prisoners of conscience and must be released immediately and unconditionally -- calling for peaceful political rallies is not a crime and should never be punished as such,” Amnesty International’s Russia researcher Oleg Kozlovsky said in a statement.
“It is outrageous that the Russian authorities feel so emboldened in preventing opposition voices from being heard,” Kozlovsky added.
It is Navalny's second sentencing this month. He was released from jail on July 11 after serving a 10-day sentence for attending an unsanctioned protest in Moscow.
He had been sentenced to jail about a dozen times in recent years and has served more than 200 days in incarceration.