AIUSA letter to Amb. Anatoly Antonov calling for Alexsei Navalny to receive appropriate medical care

April 6, 2021

On April 6, 2021, Amnesty International USA sent a letter to Ambassador Anatoly Antonov of the Russian Federation calling for the Kremlin to release political activist Alexsei Navalny and to provide him with access to a medical professional of his choosing. Navalny narrowly survived what has since been independently confirmed as poisoning by Novichok nerve agent on August 20, 2020. Following his medical treatment in Berlin, Navalny returned to Russia on January 17, 2021 and was immediately arrested by security services. Just weeks later, a Moscow judge ruled that he must go to prison for violating the terms of a 2014 conviction.  Since the start of his detention, Nalany has complained of severe back and leg pain and of being subjected to a regimen of sleep deprivation at the hands of prison authorities. We call on Russian authorities to live up to their obligations under domestic and international law and provide Navalny access to credible, independent medical specialists of his choosing, and to immediately release him.

To download the original letter please click here:  Amnesty_AmbAntonov_NavalnyLetter_2021_04_06



April 6, 2021

Ambassador Anatoly Ivanovich Antonov
Embassy of the Russian Federation
2650 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20007

                Re: Amnesty International USA Calls for Aleksei Navalny’s access to appropriate medical care and release

Dear Ambassador Antonov:

On behalf of Amnesty International USA, I write to you to call on your government to grant Aleksei Navalny urgent access to medical care from a physician of his choosing and to provide for his immediate release.

Mr. Navalny’s health has severely deteriorated following his January 17, 2021 arrest. Mr. Navalny has complained of pain in his back and numbness in his legs, and the condition appears to be worsening every day. His health condition has been further exacerbated by systematic sleep deprivation at the hands of prison officials. This comes after his original poisoning by a nerve agent on August 20, 2020. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has confirmed that Mr. Navalny was exposed to a toxic chemical acting as a cholinesterase inhibitor, whose biomarkers are similar to the nerve agent “Novichok”. Despite repeated demands, Mr. Navalny has been denied access to a medical professional of his choice.

Government officials are obligated to protect the health of individuals in their detention. Failure to do so represents a flagrant violation of numerous treaties and agreements of international law and international humanitarian law, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention against Torture, the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and numerous other binding and nonbinding UN and European instruments to which the Russian Federation is state party. The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture under the Council of Europe has identified the right to request medical examination by a doctor of one’s choice as among the core rights enjoyed by a person in detention.

Mr. Navalny was originally detained on January 17th for failing to report to the probation officer during his life-saving recovery in Germany, a condition stipulated as part of an earlier non-custodial sentence. For this “violation” he was tried and sentenced to two years and eight months in a high-security prison colony. His detention, subsequent imprisonment, and conviction amount to little more than an attempt to silence him for his political activism and dissent. It comes after a sustained campaign of persecution that has included multiple arrests, including one in 2014 when he was convicted of fraud in a case that the European Court of Human Rights called “arbitrary and manifestly unreasonable.

We urge you to:

• Immediately release Aleksei Navalny. He has committed no recognizable criminal offence and has been deprived of his liberty on the basis of being an outspoken critic of the Russian authorities;
• Immediately ensure that Aleksei Navalny receives the urgent medical care he requires, and in particular, that he is examined and prescribed treatment by health professionals of his choice, and that their prescribed treatment is provided to him, including at a civil medical institution, as required;
• Provide guarantees that while in detention Aleksei Navalny is not subjected to torture and other ill-treatment, including sleep deprivation or denial of required medical care; and
• Carry out an immediate, full, impartial, and effective investigation into the circumstances of Aleksei Navalny’s unfounded criminal prosecution and imprisonment, and the conditions of his detention. This investigation should examine reports of sleep deprivation and the denial of required medical treatment. All those responsible should be held to account.

Please do not hesitate to contact me at (202) 509-8132 or [email protected].




Daniel Balson

Advocacy Director for Europe and Central Asia

Amnesty International USA