Amnesty International has stopped viewing Alexei Navalny as a “prisoner of conscience” due to nationalist and xenophobic statements made by Russian opponents in the past, the organization said on Tuesday.
“He cannot be qualified as a prisoner of conscience, that is, someone who never defends hatred or violence or uses hate speech,” said Alexander Artemev, spokesman for the human rights organization, to the BBC in Moscow about 15 years ago, which has now surfaced.
Despite this, Amnesty continues to call for Navalny to be released, defend his innocence and believe that his arrest is the result of persecution by President Vladimir Putin and his government, who seek to silence criticism from the opposition.
If the organization initially closed its eyes to Navalny’s past, the recent discoveries, according to Artemev, “make it impossible to ignore him”. In addition, Navalny himself has not yet publicly refuted comments and videos. “In our interpretation, he continues to maintain what he said in some way,” added the spokesman.
Amnesty did not specify the comments it was referring to, it also made reference to a nationalist march that Navalny will have attended. And it is known that in one of the videos released in 2007 the politician defended the displacement of migrants to prevent the rise of the extreme right, claiming that “we have the right to be Russians in Russia and we will defend. ” the right, “according to Reuters.
Alexei Navalny was arrested in Russia on January 17 this year after recovering in Germany from Novichok poisoning confirmed by German doctors.
Shortly after his arrest, Amnesty described him as a “prisoner of conscience” and opposed “more evidence” that the Russian authorities are “trying to silence him,” a statement said. For the organization, Navalny was “deprived of his freedom because of his peaceful political activism and exercise of freedom of expression”.
Alexei Navalny has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison for violating probation in a previous sentence, as well as other crimes accused of defaming a World War II veteran worldwide.