The conviction of yet another critic of Vladimir Putin’s Government for embezzlement is a further worrying signal of corruption and human rights abuses in the Russian state.
Alexei Navalny, an anti-corruption campaigner, has today been sentenced to five years in a penal colony for supposed fraud, just weeks after dead human rights lawyer Sergei Magnitsky was convicted posthumously on similarly politically motivated charges.
The Henry Jackson Society (HJS), which has previously hosted Mr Navalny at a parliamentary debate and has worked with his Foundation for Fighting Corruption to highlight his case, has today condemned the conviction and renewed its call for more to be done to stop the spread of Russian corruption.
Earlier this month, the HJS’s Russia Studies Centre published the results of a YouGov poll which found 95 per cent of people in the UK believed human rights abuses had worsened under Putin, with 72 per cent supporting stricter sanctions against suspected corrupt officials.
Dr Alan Mendoza, Executive Director of the Henry Jackson Society, said: “Yet again, the Russian state has displayed a total disregard for justice and human rights, choosing instead to jail a man who has had the temerity to voice criticisms of Putin’s government.
“This is the second absurd show-trial in as many weeks which has resulted in the conviction of brave whistleblowers, proving dissenting views cannot be heard in Russia without a significant threat.
“It is the responsibility of leaders in the West to ensure the Russian state cannot continue to ignore basic human rights, and I would again urge the British Government to do more to place sanctions on corrupt officials who have allowed this to happen.”