Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland said today he is concerned about freedom of expression and freedom of assembly in Russia after mass detentions at demonstrations.
“The detention of hundreds of citizens, including opposition leader Alexey Navalny while exercising their right to freedom of expression and to peaceful assembly raises issues under the European Convention on Human Rights. I am particularly concerned about the reported detention of minors. I call for the release of all those detained”, said Thorbjørn Jagland.
The Council of Europe says it stands ready to work with the Russian authorities to prevent such situations by upholding the European Convention on Human Rights.
Tens of thousands of people gathered in Moscow and other major cities across Russia on Sunday to protest against official government corruption in what certainly looked like the largest show of anti-Kremlin defiance since 2012.
Hundreds of people were arrested, including prominent opposition figure Alexey Navalny, who was one of the main organizers of the rally. Navalny fueled outrage by releasing a video that alleged the country’s prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, had amassed a huge fortune as a public servant.
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny called on his supporters to join a demonstration in central Moscow despite a ban from Moscow authorities. Throughout Russia the opposition held the so-called anti-corruption rallies.
Dozens of demonstrators have been detained across the country as they called for the resignation of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev over corruption allegations.
Russian opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, has made a defiant appearance in court today following his detention at the mass protests on Sunday. He said the court should be summoning PM Dmitry Medvedev for questioning.
The European Union on Monday also demanded the release “without delay” of those detained in the protests.