Russia will not release Alexei Navalny just because EU says so

Russia will not release Alexei Navalny, the founder of the Anti-Corruption Fund (FBK, included by the Ministry of Justice in the register of organizations performing the functions of a foreign agent) as part of interim measures at the request of the European Union. According to the press service of the Ministry of Justice, this would be gross interference in the work of the judicial system of a sovereign state.

Spokespeople for the department also said that such a decision would cross the red line.

"Such a decision shall not be enforceable from the point of view of international law," the department said in a statement.

It was reported earlier that the EU, through the European Court of Human Rights, may demand Alexei Navalny be released on the basis of the decision on the application of interim measures under Rule 39 of the Rules of the ECHR. Russia's Ministry of Justice is currently in correspondence with the ECHR at the request of Navalny's lawyers.

On February 13, Navalny's defense turned to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, claiming that Russia had failed to comply with the ECHR decision in the Yves Rocher case. It was said that the appeal would be considered at a meeting in March. The defense will ask to apply Article 46 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms with regard to Russia. At the same time, it was also said that the above-mentioned decision of the ECHR did not contain conclusions on political motivation or bias in the criminal case.

In 2014, Alexei Navalny was sentenced to three years and six months of suspended imprisonment in and a fine of 500,000 rubles for fraud. The court subsequently extended the suspended period for one year. In 2017, the ECHR, at the request of the Navalny brothers, decided that Russia had violated a number of articles of the European Convention on Human Rights in the Yves Rocher case. In 2018, the Supreme Court of Russia resumed the proceedings due to the decision of the ECHR, but upheld the verdict. On February 2 this year, Navalny's suspended sentence in the case was replaced to a real jail term after the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) announced numerous violations of the suspended sentence.