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Commenting on the latest arrests in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, ALDE Party President Hans van Baalen said:
“I am very concerned that prominent journalists and activists are being arrested for exercising the right to peaceful assembly and for protesting against the restrictions and curbs of freedoms of speech that have been introduced in Russia under the guise of tackling COVID19.”
“Freedom of expression has been under threat in Russia for a long time now, but it is extremely concerning to see that single pickets — usually the only form of protest allowed without permission — are also now being supressed.”
“A strong civil society is needed in order to challenge and critically scrutinise ruling powers, which is fundamental for a functional modern democracy. The restrictive measures put into place to tackle the spread of the coronavirus could pose grave difficulties to the freedoms of citizens if they are left unchecked, so it is essential they can be subject to scrutiny.”
“President Putin must stop using the pandemic to muzzle opposition. He should instead prioritise safely addressing the public health emergency that has resulted from the country recording the third-most cases in the world.”
“We call for their immediate release and an end to reprisals against dissenting voices including and especially those of ALDE Party member party Yabloko.”
President Putin must stop using the #COVIDー19 pandemic to muzzle opposition. We call for their immediate release and an end to reprisals against dissenting voices including and especially those of ALDE Party member party @YablokoParty @yabloko https://t.co/aQ9LREXWb4— Hans van Baalen (@hansvanbaalen) June 2, 2020
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