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Alexei Navalny Stripped Of ‘prisoner Of Conscience’ Status By Amnesty International Over His Comments That Compared Immigrants To Cockroaches

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A human rights group, Amnesty International has stripped Russian opposition leader, Alexei Navalny of his “prisoner of conscience” status after it said there was complaints the xenophobic comments he made in the past.

According to Amnesty International, Navalny made comments about 15 years ago, in which he compared immigrants to cockroaches, and the rights group said the action amounts to “hate speech” which was incompatible with the label “prisoner of conscience”.

In another video from the early 2000s, Navalny dressed as a dentist, interspersed with images of immigrant workers, calling for the removal of “everything that bothers us”, like rotten teeth.

Navalny’s supporters believe the wave of requests received by Amnesty International to “de-list” Navalny was part of an “orchestrated campaign” to discredit Vladimir Putin’s most vocal critic and “impede” Amnesty International’s calls for his release from custody.

Alexei Navalny Stripped Of 'prisoner Of Conscience' Status By Amnesty International Over His Comments That Compared Immigrants To Cockroaches
Alexei Navalny Stripped Of 'prisoner Of Conscience' Status By Amnesty International Over His Comments That Compared Immigrants To Cockroaches

In an email, Amnesty says it’s “no longer able to consider Aleksei Navalny a prisoner of conscience given the fact that he advocated violence and discrimination and he has not retracted such statements.” 

“Navalny has not publicly denounced his YouTube videos so our idea is that somehow he can relate to what he said,” Amnesty’s Alexander Artemev explained, though clearly uncomfortable with the decision and its implications.

“He cannot be a prisoner of conscience: that is someone who never advocates hate or violence or uses hate speech,” Mr Artemev argued, adding that Nelson Mandela had also been stripped of the status in the 1960s after advocating the use of force against the apartheid regime in South Africa.

He is now serving a prison sentence after coming back to Russia last month following his recovery from nerve poisoning.

Amnesty International says they will still continue pushing for his release from Russian prison.

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