The Russian Foreign Ministry rejected a request for the immediate release of former Moscow lawmaker Alexey Gorinov made by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Novaya Gazeta reported Thursday.
Gorinov was sentenced to seven years in prison in July 2022 for a number of statements he made at a council meeting on 15 March that year which the court ruled contained “known untruths about the Russian Armed Forces”. He also called the “special operation” in Ukraine a “war” and referred to the deaths of Ukrainian children.
Gorinov in court holding up a sign that reads "do you still need this war?" Photo: social media
In its statement, the ministry said that Russia was under no obligation to comply with requests made by the working group due to its advisory nature. “The Russian Federation interacts with the Working Group on arbitrary detention on an exclusively voluntary basis and has never in any form expressed its consent to be bound by the ‘decisions’ of this expert body, which is not an international court,” the Foreign Ministry statement read.
Russian human rights lawyer Grigory Vaypan called the response “disgraceful and hypocritical”, adding that it contradicted “the legal position of the Russian Constitutional Court, which ruled that the Russian authorities cannot ignore the working group if it establishes a person has been deprived of their liberty in violation of international law”.
A Telegram channel set up by Gorinov’s supporters said on Thursday that he was still being held in the medical unit of a penal colony in the Vladimir region of central Russia. It added that Gorinov had been found to be exhibiting signs of serious illness.
Last month, Gorinov’s lawyer said that his client was “in very poor health” and over 100 doctors signed an open letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin calling for him to be given access to better medical attention.
The UN believes Gorinov is being persecuted for exercising his freedom of speech and for his involvement in opposition politics and demanded that the Russian authorities conduct a fair inquiry into the fairness of his detention.