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EU concerned over Russian opposition leaders’ arrests – Ashton

May 11, 2012, 22:22 UTC+3

Navalny and Udaltsov were jailed for 15 days

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BRUSSELS, May 11 (Itar-Tass) —— The European Union is concerned over the arrests of Russian opposition leaders during the recent protest rallies in Moscow and their sentencing to 15 days of administrative arrest for disobedience to the police, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton said on Friday.

“The High Representative is concerned about the arrests of opposition leaders in Moscow and the 15-day prison sentence imposed on some of them on 9 May 2012," Ashton’s spokesperson said in a statement posted on the EU website. "The freedoms of expression and of assembly, and participation in peaceful demonstrations, are fundamental rights in democratic states and are indeed enshrined in the Russian Constitution.”

“The High Representative calls on Russia to respect these rights, also in light of Russia's international commitments taken as a member of the Council of Europe and the OSCE. She encourages Russian authorities to further develop democratic institutions in a constructive dialogue with civil society and its representatives,” the statement concluded.

Opposition blogger Alexei Navalny and Left Front movement leader Sergei Udaltsov were jailed for 15 days on Wednesday for disobeying police orders. Navalny was questioned by police on Thursday morning in connection with the May 6 unrest in the March of Millions and the rally on Bolotnaya Square .


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