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Statement on the detention of the Russian opposition politician Alexey Navalny

Delivered by Ambassador Anne-Kirsti Karlsen at the Permanent Council, Vienna, 21 January 2021.

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Madame Chair,

Norway is deeply concerned about the detention of opposition leader Aleksey Navalny upon his return to Russia on Sunday 17 January. The European Court of Human Rights has earlier concluded that Russia violated Navalny's rights in previous legal proceedings against him and stated that “he had been treated in that way in order to curtail his public activities”. We stand together with our partners in calling for his immediate release. Our foreign minister repeated this message in her meeting with foreign minister Lavrov on Tuesday.

Considering that Navalny almost died after being poisoned with a banned nerve agent last August, there is no doubt that his life may still be at risk. We will continue to hold the Russian government responsible for ensuring Navalny's safety and well-being and for respecting his fundamental rights, in accordance with numerous OSCE commitments such as the Copenhagen document in 1990.

We will follow this case closely.

Thank you