HomeWorldWorldThe European Parliament demanded the release of Russian opponent Alexei Navalny, whose...

The European Parliament demanded the release of Russian opponent Alexei Navalny, whose health is weakened after enduring a hunger strike

The European legislature voted on a declaration with several points, among which the responsibility of Vladimir Putin for the health of the detainee, the main political rival of the president of Russia, and the demand for a “new approach” in the relationship with Moscow stand out.

The European Parliament in Brussels (EFE / EPA / OLIVIER HOSLET)

The European Parliament demanded this Thursday the “immediate and unconditional” release of Russian opponent Alexei Navalny and asked the European Union for a “new approach” in its relationship with Russia, through a resolution passed on Thursday.

The text – presented by the European People’s Party, the Social Democrats, the liberal group Renovar Europa, the Greens and the conservatives of the ECR – came forward with 569 votes in favor, 67 against and 46 abstentions.

MEPs noted that the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, “in his capacity as head of state” is “personally responsible” for protecting Navalny’s life, whose state of health remains weak, despite having ended the hunger strike against his imprisonment, for which lost 16 kilos.

The European Parliament also regretted that the Russian Justice considers the Anti-Corruption Foundation led by Navalny to be “extremist” and urged the Russian authorities to “put an end to acts of harassment, intimidation and attacks against the opposition, civil society”, referring to the crackdown on protesters protesting Navalny’s conviction.

The European Parliament reiterated on Thursday its request to Russia to immediately release opposition leader Alexei Navalny (Europa Press)

The European Parliament reiterated on Thursday its request to Russia to immediately release opposition leader Alexei Navalny (Europa Press)

Regarding the deployment of Kremlin troops on the border with Ukraine, the text asked the EU to draw conclusions and specifically, the High Representative for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, to “continue to be prepared to reach an agreement” with the Twenty-seven “on new joint actions”, despite Moscow having said it will end the military escalation next Saturday.

MEPs also reiterated their support for the territorial integrity of Ukraine, not only in front of the Russian troops on the border, but in reference to the annexation of Crimea and Sebastópol that Russia carried out in 2014.

In the resolution, the European Parliament also wanted to show its “Deep solidarity” with the Czech Republic, following the recent investigation that showed that Russia caused, also in 2014, an explosion at the Vrbětice arms depot.

Russian opponent Alexei Navalny is seen on screens via video link before a hearing to consider an appeal against a previous court decision that found him guilty of slandering a Russian WWII veteran (Reuters)

Russian opponent Alexei Navalny is seen on screens via video link before a hearing to consider an appeal against a previous court decision that found him guilty of slandering a Russian WWII veteran (Reuters)

And he also supported the order that Prague has given Moscow to withdraw most of its diplomatic staff in the Czech Republic, in response to the similar demand that the Kremlin has made to that EU country.

The European Parliament asked the EU to elaborate “a new approach ”regarding its relationship with Russia and that the new sanctions regime with which the Twenty-seven have been endowed to punish human rights violations, also persecute corruption, as occurs, for example, with the Magnitsky law of the United States.

Navalny, 44, is serving a prison sentence of two and a half years for violations of liberty conditional in a previous conviction that, according to him, was politically motivated.

The High Representative for EU Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell (John Thys / Pool via REUTERS)

The High Representative for EU Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell (John Thys / Pool via REUTERS)

He declared his hunger strike in prison on March 31 to demand proper medical care for leg and back pain, but on April 23 he said that he would start to finish it gradually after receiving medical attention.

Pressure has been mounting on him and his campaign against political and business corruption for months.

With information from EFE

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