Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission Co-Chairmen Express Concern over Recent Mass Detentions in Moscow
Washington — Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission Co-chairmen Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Frank Wolf (R-VA) expressed grave concern over the mass detentions of peaceful protesters in Moscow on February 21st and February 24th. On those two days over 800 people were detained. According to human rights experts both within and outside of Russia, these arrests lacked any legal grounds, and protesters were not violating the strict assembly laws of the Russian Federation. Among those detained were representatives of civil society, members of the public, and political figures like Boris Nemtsov and Aleksei Navalny. The Commission Co-chairmen call for their immediate release and urge Russian authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into the legality of recent arrests.
The detained activists came out to the streets to protest the sentences handed down in the cases of eight participants of the Bolotnaya Square demonstrations in Moscow in May 2012. Seven of these individuals received prison sentences of up to four years - Andrei Barabanov, Yaroslav Belousov, Sergei Krivov, Denis Lutskevitch, Alexei Polikhovich, Artyom Savelyov, Stepan Zemin, and Alexandra Naumova Dukhanina received a suspended sentence. Their trials were marked by a lack of due process and are widely recognized as politically-motivated. The Co-chairmen call upon the Russian government to address these recent instances of blatant injustice.
The bipartisan Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission was established in the U.S. House of Representatives to educate Members of Congress on human rights issues and advocate on behalf of human rights defenders world-wide.