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The Association of Schools of Political Studies of the Council of Europe (ASPS), meeting two years on from Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, voiced outrage at the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny who was being unjustly held in prison on bogus politically motivated charges.

The ASPS which groups political scientists from Europe, Africa and Central Asia called on Russia to allow an independent international investigation into Navalny’s “sudden” death.

It recalled that the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) had condemned Russia for failing to carry out a proper judicial investigation into the allegations that in 2020 Navalny had been poisoned for political reasons.

Navalny, one of the only figures who could mobilise grass-roots protest across Russia joins the long list of other victims of Putin’s murderous repression including Anna Politkovskaya, Alexander Litvinenko, Boris Berezovsky, Boris Nemtsov, Sergei Skripal and many others.

Disgraced President Vladimir Putin, against whom the International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for deporting Ukrainian children, was clearly, directly or indirectly, responsible for Navalny’s death since his henchmen had for years been persecuting, tormenting, and even poisoning his arch opponent, the ASPS said. Like Putin’s barbaric invasion of Ukraine, Navalny’s death in custody demonstrated the ever deepening human rights crisis in Russia and the Kremlin’s contempt for European values and its total disregard for a series of ECHR rulings in Navalny’s favour.

The Strasbourg-based Association called for the release of all political prisoners including those held when paying tribute to Alexei Navalny and reiterated that the Russian authorities should be held accountable for his death.

In conclusion the ASPS said Navalny’s death and Putin’s desire to crush human rights
activists and eradicate all critical voices should be a wake-up call for any who doubted the
brutal nature of Russia’s dictatorship or the need to support Ukraine in its fight against a
ruthless enemy and its shameless megalomaniac leader.

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