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Pier Antonio Panzeri (S&D, IT), Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights made the following statement on the detentions following yesterday's demonstrations in Russia:

"I regret and condemn the fact that yesterday's demonstrations in many cities across Russia were followed by a large number of arrests and detentions, including that of opposition leader Alexey Navalny and a number of journalists.

Peaceful demonstrators should be guaranteed the right to freedom of assembly and of expression in line with basic democratic values and with Russia's international obligations as a member of the Council of Europe and the OSCE. Demonstrators and civil society organisations should be allowed to carry out their legitimate and peaceful activities linked to the fight against corruption and in defence of human rights and democracy. 

I call for the immediate release without charge of all those who have been detained. The charges against Mr Navalny should also be dropped forthwith".