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Opposition figures express concern over Putin's crackdown

Opposition figures express concern over Putin's crackdown
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Opposition figures have expressed their concern over the trial of 12 anti-Putin demonstrators.

Dissidents interviewed by euronews fear the Russian president will continue his crackdown on civil liberties.

Pavel Khodorkovsky, the son of jailed businessman Mikhail, said the state wanted “to suppress the dissent within the country.

“That’s why we have so many political prisoners. There could be a third court case against my father in preparation,” he told euronews.

A Lithuanian MEP, who held a European Parliament seminar on Russia’s political prisoners on Wednesday, told euronews that the EU should do more to pressure Putin on the issue of individual freedoms.

Leonidas Donskis, chairman of the ALDE Seminar Russian Political prisoners, said: “I am not that naive to expect that the Kremlin would feel the sense of shame. But we can send the very clear message that human rights are not negotiable.”

But Kremlin supporters disagree these prisoners are behind bars for their political views.

Sergei Petrossov, head of the European Russian Community, denied these jailed opposition figures were political prisoners.

“First, why call them political prisoners? It is regrettable that the European Parliament and Europe is politicising this issue and putting so much at the stake on these people,” he said.

Since coming to power in May last year, Putin has enacted new laws seemingly aimed at weakening the country’s opposition.