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In a surprise twist on the Alexei Navalny saga, and on the very day that it’s being widely reported Biden is preparing sanctions on Russia as punishment for his alleged poisoning by nerve agent last August, the human rights organization Amnesty International has withdrawn its formal designation of Navalny as a “prisoner of conscience”.
US state-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports the following on Tuesday:
Amnesty International has reportedly withdrawn its recent designation of Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny’s as a “prisoner of conscience” over his alleged advocacy of violence and discrimination and comments that included hate speech.
And just like that it appears the narrative which cast Navalny and his supporters as some kind of ‘anti-Putin freedom fighters’ has been deflated.
The early February street protests following Navalny’s arrest after he arrived from Berlin where he’d been recovering from an alleged poisoning were widely supported by officials in the West, including by the US and some European embassies in Moscow.
This created tensions leading to the Kremlin expelling a handful of European diplomats, citing their stoking unrest related to ‘illegal’ protests. US mainstream media also gave the large pro-Navalny protests close coverage.
New: @AmnestyUK withdraws designation of Navalny as a “prisoner of conscience.” In email, Amnesty says it’s “no longer able to consider Aleksei Navalny a prisoner of conscience given the fact that he advocated violence and discrimination and he has not retracted such statements.” pic.twitter.com/E9m0e6lzT8
— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) February 23, 2021
Here’s how Amnesty International previously described Navalny and his plight in a January press release:
“He has previously been tried and convicted in two separate, politically-motivated criminal cases. On 29 December, the Russian Investigative Committee levelled new charges against Navalny,