Human Rights Voices

While the UN devotes its human rights operations to the demonization of the democratic state of Israel above all others and condemns the United States more often than the vast majority of non-democracies around the world, the voices of real victims around the world must be heard.

Russian Federation, February 23, 2021

Women protesting Alexei Navalny's sentence reportedly forced to strip

Original source

The New York Post

Women protesting Russian dissident Alexei Navalny's prison sentence have been forced to undress and have faced sexual humiliation while being detained, according to a report. Chilling videos have captured horrific beatings of Navalny supporters by baton-wielding police officers in riot gear, including the assault of journalist Fedor Khudokormov, East2West News reports.

But human rights activist Elza Nisanbekova said women, in particular, are being targeted in custody.

"We have a very strange practice starting. After detention, in police departments, police officers force the girls to either fully undress and do sit-downs naked, or force them to show their underwear, pull up their T-shirts, blouses, pull down their trousers," she said, according to East2West News.

"This practice has nothing to do with the law. These are some sort of sexual deviations," she added.

About 1,400 people have been arrested - mostly in Moscow and St. Petersburg - during the heated protests over the treatment of Navalny, who was busted at the Russian border on Jan. 17.

The fierce Kremlin critic was detained on his return from Germany, where he'd been recovering for five months after being poisoned by a nerve agent.

Russian opposition leaders on Wednesday warned that their country has become a police state amid the disturbing reports of abuse, East2West News reported.

Male detainee Talgat Ahmadiev, 28, said a woman who was held by authorities "was not treated humanely."

"She was forced to take off her bra and undress to her panties," he said.

It was alleged that when she refused, she was threatened with an additional charge of insubordination, refusing to obey a police commander.

In Kazan, female students were reportedly forced to disrobe in a cell with "transparent glass," East2West News reported.

The 44-year-old Navalny was ordered to serve the remainder of his 3½-year prison sentence after a court on Tuesday ruled that he violated terms of his parole.

The Putin critic was initially sentenced in 2014 to a suspended 3½-year prison sentence, but Judge Natalya Repnikova said he previously served time under house arrest - which would count toward time served and result in a prison term of at least 2½ years.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for Navalny's release, warning that Washington and its allies would "hold Russia accountable for failing to uphold the rights of its citizens."

French President Emmanuel Macron joined those calls, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the decision to incarcerate him "far removed from any rule of law," Agence France-Presse reported.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson callied it "pure cowardice."

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who is due to visit Moscow this week, said it "runs counter to Russia's international commitments on rule of law and fundamental freedoms".

On Wednesday, the Kremlin defended its crackdown on protesters demanding Navalny's release.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova described the Western reaction as "disconnected from reality," adding: "There is no need to interfere in the internal affairs of a sovereign state."