The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) has expressed concerns at the sentencing of Russian political figure and activist Aleksei Navalny by a Moscow court. In a statement, the UNHCR said “We urge the authorities in Russia to immediately release all those detained for exercising their right to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression yesterday and over the past few weeks of protests across the country. There are reports that the number of people arrested yesterday was as high as 1,400. The Government must ensure that demonstrations are handled in line with its obligations under international human rights law.
We are deeply dismayed by the sentencing of Russian opposition figure Aleksei Navalny by a court in Moscow yesterday to imprisonment* for allegedly violating the conditions of a 2014 suspended sentence in an embezzlement case that the European Court of Human Rights had in 2017 already unanimously found to be arbitrary, unfair and manifestly unreasonable.”.
Navalny is a Russian opposition leader, politician, lawyer, and anti-corruption activist. He came to international prominence by organizing demonstrations and running for office to advocate reforms against corruption in Russia.
In August 2020, Navalny was hospitalized in serious condition after he was poisoned with a nerve agent. He was medically evacuated to Berlin and discharged a month later. Navalny accused Putin of being responsible for his poisoning and an investigation implicated agent from the Federal Security Service (FSB) in his poisoning. The EU and UK responded by imposing sanctions on Russian officials. On 17 January 2021, he returned to Russia, where he was immediately detained on accusations of violating parole conditions.