"There is no doubt that the court proceedings in Navalny's case were of a highly political nature, many procedures were not followed, Navalny has not been guaranteed the rights foreseen in the Constitution of the Russian Federation," Rau said after meeting his Spanish counterpart Arancha Gonzalez Laya in Warsaw.
Rau said that the recent sentencing of the Kremlin critic by a Moscow court to two years and eight months in a penal colony had sparked "spontaneous protests of politicians" on both sides of the Atlantic. This, the minister said, signals that "we should expect further reactions from the free world on this issue."
The foreign minister stressed that "the EU should absolutely speak with one voice and transatlantic unity should also be absolutely preserved." Rau added that it is not only a question of the effectiveness of influencing Russia, but also "the question of the genuine identity of the free world based on human rights values, of the position of civil society."
Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya said that Spain had reacted from the beginning by supporting Alexei Navalny and had protested against his conviction. "We believe that these decisions were absolutely arbitrary," she said. "We will have the opportunity to discuss EU-Russia relations during the Foreign Affairs Council following a planned visit to Russia by the EU high representative for foreign affairs and security policy," she added. (PAP)