“Consequences must be borne, justice must be served.”

“All those responsible for Navalny’s detention, ill-treatment, and death must be held to account.” Pedro Marques, S&D Vice President

As widespread concern among MEPs grows regarding the threat Russia poses to European security, Alexei Navalny’s widow, Yulia Navalnaya, descibed Russian President Vladimir Putin to the European Parliament’s plenary session in Strasbourg  as the leader of a criminal gang and a “bloody monster”.

Navalny, a leading voice of dissent against Putin, died on 16th February in an Arctic prison where he was serving a three-decade sentence. World leaders and Russian Opposition activists allege that Putin and his government are responsible for his death. Ms Navalnaya accused the Russian President of killing her husband and criticised the authorities for keeping his body for more than a week before it could be collected by his mother.

Alexei Navalny’s widow addressing the European Parliament. Photo: Johanna Geron/Reuters

Paying tribute to Navalny together with other parliamentary group leaders, Pedro Marques, Vice President of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D), stressed that “truth must be told, consequences must be borne, and justice must be served”. He said that an international and independent investigation must be carried out to look into the circumstances of his death, and for all those responsible for his detention, ill-treatment, and death to be held to account.

Marques recalled how the European Parliament has repeatedly condemned in the strongest possible terms Navalny’s persecution, his poisoning, the politically motivated trumped charges brought against him, calling for his immediate and unconditional release.

Pedro Marques, Vice President S&D. © European Union 2024

“The news of his death at the hands of the Putin regime in the remote Siberian prison outraged us and was met with condemnation,” he said. “It sent shockwaves in Russia but also all over the world.” He described Navalny as a leader who gave the people hope of a better Russia, and who paid the ultimate sacrifice for democracy and freedom in his country. He stressed that his vision of a democratic Russia will one day prevail.

This echoed Yulia Navalnaya’s own belief that, although her late husband will never get to see a “beautiful Russia” in the future, eventually “evil will fall, and the beauty will come”.

A European Parliament resolution set for a vote tomorrow afternoon calls for condemnation of Navalny’s death, as well as EU action to support Russian political prisoners and “oppressed civil society”.  

Three years ago, Parliament honoured Navalny with its prestigious Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, which was accepted by his daughter, Daria Navalnaya.

Main photo: AFP, Getty

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