Amnesty International: Responding to news that a Russian prosecutor has lodged a court request to declare Aleksei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation and associated organizations as “extremist” and to consequently ban their activities, Natalia Zviagina, Amnesty International’s Moscow Office Director, said: “This looming ban has far reaching consequences for Russian civil society. Tens of thousands of peaceful activists and the staff of Aleksei Navalny’s organizations are in grave danger – if their organizations are deemed “extremist” they will be at imminent risk of criminal prosecution.”
RFE/RL: Amnesty International has sharply criticized a request by Russian prosecutors to have the Anti-Corruption Foundation of imprisoned opposition politician Aleksei Navalny banned as an “extremist” organization. “Tens of thousands of peaceful activists and the staff of Aleksei Navalny’s organizations are in grave danger,” Natalia Zviagina, head of Amnesty’s Moscow office, said in an April 17 statement. “If their organizations are deemed ‘extremist’ they will all be at imminent risk of criminal prosecution.” The Amnesty statement also decried Russia’s “long history of abusing ‘anti-extremism’ legislation and said that if the courts grant the prosecutors’ request on labeling Navalny’s organization “extremist,” “the result will likely be one of the most serious blows for the rights to freedom of expression and association in Russia’s post-Soviet history.”
The Guardian: Russia on Saturday said it would expel a Ukrainian diplomat, prompting an immediate pledge of retaliation from Kyiv, further escalating tensions after Moscow’s troop buildup on Ukraine’s eastern flank. The detention of a Ukrainian consul in the second city, St Petersburg, comes at a time of global concern over a possible repeat of Moscow’s 2014 aggression, when Russia annexed the peninsula of Crimea and backed separatists in Ukraine’s east. Moscow claimed that the diplomat had been caught “red-handed” trying to obtain sensitive information. In response, the Ukrainian foreign ministry condemned “the illegal” detention of its diplomat and said Kyiv would expel a senior Russian diplomat in response.