the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Statement by National Security Council Spokesman Mike Hammer on the Detention of Human Rights Activists in Russia

The United States expresses dismay at reports that authorities in Moscow prevented Russian citizens from exercising their right to assemble peacefully.  In particular, the United States notes with concern the detention of protestors, including prominent human rights defender Lyudmila Alekseyeva, and reports of their mistreatment by authorities while in custody.  Freedom of speech and assembly are universal rights that all governments should recognize and defend.  The United States stands with those dedicated to promoting these human rights.