News of the Week: 7 July 2021

Amnesty International: We the undersigned civil society organizations are gravely concerned about the state and trajectory of the situation of human rights in the Russian Federation. The politically motivated prosecution and arbitrary deprivation of liberty of Aleksei Navalny, his colleagues, associates and supporters, as well as outlawing organizations linked with him, have shed light on the wide range of human rights violations that are being committed by the authorities.

The Moscow Times: A U.S. passport holder was detained in Moscow alongside a veteran Belarusian opposition leader three months ago and spirited away to Minsk to face charges of attempting a coup, CNN reported Tuesday. Belarusian-American lawyer Yuras Zyankovich was detained by Russia’s FSB security agency in April while having lunch at a Moscow restaurant with Alexander Feduta, the former spokesman-turned-critic of Belarus’s leader. 

RFE/RL: Local media say former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan’s legal team will request his transfer from a Russian prison to the U.S. to serve out the remainder of his sentence. Whelan, 50, was arrested in Moscow in December 2018 on espionage charges and sentenced to 16 years in prison in May 2020 following a trial that was condemned by the United States as a “mockery of justice.”

RFE/RL: An Estonian-based website about the Mari and Finno-Ugric peoples says it has been blocked by Russia’s telecommunications watchdog for its content on a scholar who lit himself on fire to protest a government move to cancel mandatory Udmurt language classes. MariUver said on its Facebook page on July 7 that Roskomnadzor had blocked its website because Mari activists “honored” Albert Razin, saying postings contained information about how to commit suicide.

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