Russia: detention of anti-war protesters condemned
‘The relationship between Russia and the Ukraine should not be a pretext for any impediment of freedom of expression and assembly’ - Sergei Nikitin
The detention of hundreds of anti-war protesters in Russia over the weekend is another manifestation of an increasing crackdown on freedom of expression and assembly in the country, Amnesty International said today.
Hundreds of demonstrators protesting against Russian military intervention in Ukraine were detained in front of the Ministry of Defence on Manezhnaya square. Dozens were kept at police stations overnight. It is also reported that several dozen people were detained in St Petersburg.
Meanwhile, Amnesty has called for two protesters who were ordered to be detained for five days on administrative charges by a Moscow court earlier today, to be released immediately.
Sergei Nikitin, Director of Amnesty International’s Moscow Office, said:
“The current developments in the relationship between Russia and the Ukraine should not be a pretext for any impediment of freedom of expression and assembly, nor for the violation of any other human rights.
“The government’s crackdown on anti-war protesters is highly alarming. In a number of cities people have been targeted for taking part in demonstrations. This is state-sanctioned harassment and intimidation.
“The Russian authorities are obliged to respect the rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression. They must immediately and unconditionally release the two imprisoned protesters whom Amnesty International considers to be prisoners of conscience.”
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