Prominent Russian opposition figure and anti-corruption campaigner Aleksei Navalny was arbitrarily arrested on January 17, 2021 after recovering from being poisoned. He was subsequently sentenced to two and a half years in prison for “violating the terms of a suspended sentence”. In prison, he is being ill-treated and denied adequate medical assistance despite serious deterioration of his health. In protest, he continues a hunger strike that began on March 31, 2021. Aleksei Navalny’s detention is unlawful and politically motivated. He must be immediately released.
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Ambassador Anatoly Antonov
Embassy of the Russian Federation
2650 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington DC 20007
Phone: 202 298 5700 I Fax: 202 298 5735
Email: [email protected]
Salutation: Dear Ambassador
Dear President Putin,
I am writing to you concerning the unlawful detention of opposition politician and anti-corruption activist Aleksei Navalny, who was arrested on January 17, 2021 and sent to a penal colony for 2 years and 6 months for “violation of terms of a suspended sentence”.
Aleksei Navalny’s detention is arbitrary, unlawful, and politically motivated. The European Court of Human Rights has found the original conviction to be “arbitrary and manifestly unreasonable” and subsequently called on the Russian authorities to immediately release Aleksei Navalny. The orders of the Court have been ignored thus far.
Aleksei Navalny’s health has severely deteriorated while in prison. The prison authorities have reportedly woken him hourly with unnecessary night “checks”, depriving him of sleep. Despite numerous demands, he has to date been denied adequate medical assistance, including visits by a medical doctor of his choice and receipt of any medicine or treatment he may require. He has complained of debilitating pain in his back and numbness in his legs, and his condition appears to be worsening each day. In protest of being denied access to a doctor he trusts, Aleksei Navalny began a hunger strike on March 31. On April 5, he was transferred to a prison hospital with high fever and coughing.
Failure to provide detainees with adequate and unfettered access to medical care and subjecting them to sleep deprivation may amount to torture or other ill-treatment. Torture is a crime under international law, and all those responsible could be prosecuted in other countries they may visit in future that have put in place measures to do so.
As the president of the Russian Federation, I urge you to use your authority to ensure:
• Aleksei Navalny is immediately released;
• Pending his release, his examination by qualified independent medical specialists of his choice; and the provision to him of their prescribed treatment, including at a civil medical institution, as required;
• An immediate and effective investigation into Aleksei Navalny’s prison conditions- including the alleged practice of sleep deprivation caused by hourly night “checks” and the failure to provide adequate medical treatment, and a commitment to bring to account those responsible.