US joins G-7 in condemning Russia over 'politically motivated' arrest of Putin critic

Source: The Hill | January 26, 2021 | Laura Kelly

The Biden administration joined the foreign ministers of the Group of 7 (G-7) countries in a joint statement Tuesday condemning Russia’s arrest of Alexei Navalny and calling his detention politically motivated.

Navalny is a prominent anti-corruption activist and outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He was arrested last week upon his return to Russia after recovering in Germany from an alleged assassination attempt in August when he was poisoned with the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok.

The more than 400-word statement by G-7 members offered a sharp rebuke of Russia’s human rights record. The group expressed deep concern over Russia’s detention of journalists and more than 3,000 demonstrators who took part in nationwide protests over the weekend against Navalny’s arrest.

“The violent suppression by police forces of the right of individuals to express their opinion is unacceptable,” the statement read. “These events confirm a continuous negative pattern of shrinking space for the opposition, civil society, human rights defenders and independent voices in Russia.”

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