Over the last four years, “fortunately, many governments treated Washington’s unreliability as cause for resolve rather than despair,” Roth said.
Leaving aside the U.S. impeachment drama, the rights group’s report intensified criticisms of several authoritarian governments.
“Beijing’s repression — insisting on political loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party — deepened across the country,” the group said, adding that the Chinese government’s “authoritarianism was on full display” in 2020.
In Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto ruler, continued last year to evade responsibility for the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the report noted.
Saudi authorities “failed to hold high-level officials accountable” for Khashoggi’s brutal slaying at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. Instead, eight lower-level operatives were sentenced.
At the same time, the Saudi government pressed its campaign against dissidents, human rights activists and independent clerics last year. Prominent women’s rights activists, including Loujain al-Hathloul, remained behind bars under harsh conditions with no meaningful legal recourse.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as in recent years, was castigated in the report over his government’s ongoing crackdown on perceived opponents, nearly five years after an attempted coup against him led to the most sustained and sweeping campaign of repression in the country’s history as a republic.
Turkey was faulted for its “systematic practice of detaining, prosecuting, and convicting on bogus and overbroad terrorism and other charges, individuals the Erdogan government regards as critics or political opponents.”
In Russia, one of the most high-profile rights violations of the year was the August poisoning of opposition leader and anti-corruption crusader Alexei Navalny. The report also pointed to damaging developments including “abusive laws” that found a foothold in constitutional amendments meant to cement the power of Russian President Vladimir Putin.©2021 Los Angeles Times. Visit at latimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.