Opposition activist sentenced to four years in prison under repressive ‘undesirable organization’ law

Reacting to news that a Russian court has sentenced opposition activist and human rights defender, Andrei Pivovarov, to four years in a penal colony, on charges brought under the country’s repressive ‘undesirable organizations’ legislation, Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, said:

“Andrei Pivovarov’s unjust prosecution and cruel prison sentence are part of a campaign by Russian authorities to weaponize the Criminal Code against anyone who dares to exercise their right to freedom of expression. Both the verdict today and the criminal article under which it was issued are shameful.”

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“Andrei Pivovarov should be immediately and unconditionally released. The authorities must also urgently repeal the legislation on ’undesirable organizations’ and ensure people can exercise their right to association without fear of reprisals. This law is clearly not concerned with criminal activity, but with repressing any form of dissent or criticism of the government. It simply should not exist.”

Andrei Pivovarov said in his final statement in court on 11 July: “And even if now those who stand for the future are trampled and imprisoned, I know that progress cannot be stopped, changes for the better are inevitable, and they are not far off. See you in our new, desirable and open Russia. We will pull through!”

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