Amnesty Pulls Navalny's 'Prisoner Of Conscience' Status Over 'Hate Speech'.

Amnesty International has reportedly withdrawn its recent designation of Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny's as a "prisoner of conscience" over his alleged advocacy of violence and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.

Aleksandr Artemyev, the rights watchdog's media manager for Russia and Eurasia, confirmed the decision to Mediazona on February 23 after the news was first reported by U.S. journalist Aaron Mate.

RFE/RL was unable to independently confirm the reports.

Artemyev wrote that Amnesty, which named Navalny a prisoner of conscience after his arrest in Moscow in January, decided to retract the designation "in light of new information" stemming from "old videos and social media posts in which Navalny made controversial pronouncements."

The comments attributed to Navalny in the mid-2000s were not specified, but Artemyev said they were made as Navalny's activism and challenge to Russian President Vladimir Putin was gaining momentum and that their reemergence "appears to be another tactic to delegitimize Navalny's work and criticism and to weaken public outcry about his detention."

Artemyev told the independent Russian news outlet that while the rights watchdog had determined some of Navalny's comments "rose to the level of hate speech," according to Current Time, it was still calling for the anti-corruption activist's "immediate release and for the Russian authorities to cease this politically motivated prosecution."

The 44-year-old Navalny was arrested at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport after he arrived on January 17 from Berlin, where he had been recovering from a poisoning with a Soviet-era nerve agent in August 2020 that Navalny says was ordered by Putin and carried out by Russian intelligence.

Protests

Navalny's arrest for failing to report to the Moscow prison service -- a violation of a suspended sentence related to a 2014 conviction for embezzlement that he and critics say was politically motivated -- sparked anti-government protests in hundreds of cities and led to thousands of arrests.

On February 2, Navalny's 3 1/2-year suspended sentence was converted to real jail time. His appeal was rejected on February 20, ensuring that Putin's biggest political rival will spend about 2 1/2 years in prison, considering time already spent in detention.

In a separate case heard the same day, Navalny was fined 850,000 rubles ($11,500) for slandering a World War II veteran who had participated in a Kremlin-organized promotional video.

After Amnesty recognized Navalny as a prisoner of conscience on January 17, saying his arrest was "further evidence that Russian authorities are seeking to silence him," the rights watchdog reportedly began receiving letters of complaint from unknown sources.

Navalny's anti-corruption organization has targeted many high-profile Russians, including high-ranking government officials.

In the course of his political career, Navalny has also come under criticism for his association with ethnic Russian nationalists and about statements seen as racist and dangerously inflammatory.

With reporting by Current Time, Meduza, and Mediazona

Radio Free Europe

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 22 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia.

https://www.rferl.org/

Related news
Navalny's Treatment 'Targeted Torture,' Say German Lawmakers.

Navalny's Treatment 'Targeted Torture,' Say German Lawmakers.

Members of the German Bundestag have described the treatment of Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny as "targeted torture" and demanded the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture review the conditions of his detention.

Radio Free Europe

Watch: The Announcement Of Prince Philip's Passing Posted On Royal Palace Gates - NBC News NOW.

Watch: The Announcement Of Prince Philip's Passing Posted On Royal Palace Gates - NBC News NOW.

In keeping with tradition, official notices announcing the death of the queen's husband, Prince Philip, were posted on the gates of royal palaces in the U.K. » Subscribe to NBC News: » Watch more NBC video: NBC News Digital is a collection of inno...

Live: White House Covid-19 Response Team Holds Briefing - NBC News.

Live: White House Covid-19 Response Team Holds Briefing - NBC News.

Watch as the White House Covid-19 response team holds a press conference on the coronavirus pandemic. » Subscribe to NBC News: » Watch more NBC video: NBC News is a leading source of global news and information. Here you will find clips from NBC N...

Burnout in office workers worsens during pandemic

Burnout in office workers worsens during pandemic

Researchers say stress and exhaustion among office workers has worsened during the coronavirus pandemic. Wendy Dickinson, a psychologist and the founder and CEO of Grow Counseling, joins "CBSN AM" to talk about the problem and offer some advice on...

Live: Jen Psaki holds White House press briefing

Live: Jen Psaki holds White House press briefing

White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks to press. #FoxNews Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompassing news service delivering breaking news as well as po...

Man whose brother was killed by illegal immigrant sends message to Biden.

Man whose brother was killed by illegal immigrant sends message to Biden.

Jody Jones joins ‘Fox & Friends’ to discuss his brother’s death and the crisis at the border. #FoxNews Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompassing news service...

One of UK's richest men knifed to death as man arrested 100 miles away.

One of UK's richest men knifed to death as man arrested 100 miles away.

A SUSPECT was arrested in a swoop 100 miles from a country mansion where a hotelier worth £300 million was stabbed to death. Sir Richard Lexington Sutton, one of Britain’s richest men, was fatally attacked while his wife Anne Schreiber, 65, also s...