European Parliament slams Russian courts for Navalny brothers’ verdict
MOSCOW, January 15 (RAPSI) - The European Parliament has accused Russia of using the judicial system as a political tool and said that the verdict for the Navalny brothers has political motives, Interfax reports on Thursday.
In late December, Moscow's Zamoskvoretsky District Court gave Alexei Navalny a 3.5-year suspended sentence. His brother Oleg was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison. The Navalny brothers were convicted for embezzling 26 million rubles ($735,500) from cosmetics company Yves Rocher Vostok and 4 million rubles ($113,170) from the Multidisciplinary Processing Company by way of a fraud scheme.
The European Parliament called for the Russian judicial and legal authorities to ensure that the trial of the Navalny case, as well as the investigation and trial of other opposition activists, comply with internationally recognized standards.
European Parliament members note a general deterioration of the human rights situation in Russia over the past year, restricted freedom of speech and assembly, and passing of laws that contradict democratic norms and violate human rights.
They call for the top EU diplomats to urgently present a comprehensive strategy regarding Russia in order to support the territorial integrity and sovereignty of European states and also support democratic principles, respect for human rights, and supremacy of law in Russia.
The parliament members also call on the European Commission and the EU foreign policy officials to increase financial aid for Russian civil society through the European instruments of assisting democracy and for the protection of human rights, as well as to increase funding of human rights organizations.
Alexei Navalny, an opposition politician and head of the Party of Progress who came in second in the 2013 Moscow mayoral election, was given a five-year suspended sentence for the embezzlement of funds from the Kirovles timber company.